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?

http://www/law.drake.edu/admissions/?pageID=costsFinAid

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?

48 comments:

  1. Iowa is MIMAL's face.

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  2. BOOYAH!

    BLOW DAT MOFO OUTTA DAH WATER1

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  3. That is one disgusting toilet. And the photo is kind of hideous, too.

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  4. Why not take your JD and sue NALP and the ABA for fraud?

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  5. This is a toilet like no other. But I have a suggestion - why not stage a protest right outside the school, with a few former classmates? Surely that will bring much needed attention to your plight. Mind you, law school administrators are thrilled that all you do is passively protest by writing blogs that pretty much entertains the same audience. Law school administrators KNOW that their graduates are angry when they are left with a 100k bill and no prospects. They KNOW you will try to protest somehow - and if they had a multiple choice question of which type of protesting they would be most comfortable with, they would probably choose blogging. Blogging poses no existential threat to law schools. In fact, they are now paying law students to counteract these negative posts by scambusters by having their own students post happy yappy stuff about their schools. There has to be a more aggressive approach. Discuss.

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  6. How dare anyone expect a return on their investment? If you pay $150k (it'll be more with the interest and everything actually) you should not expect anything in return!

    I can't wait until I try to buy a house. I'll spend $300k and then not get anything, because that would show "entitlement" since I don't deserve the house.

    Man that argument is just so stupid I want to bash my head into a wall. I can't believe that guy is making so much money while I make almost nothing.

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  7. http://nofatclips.com/02007/11/24/mortified/ihatedrake.jpg

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  8. Since you have finally spoken on your own school, why not use it to prove your theories? I am sure between you and some friends and some help from admin or hell Facebook, you could get all the current names and email addresses/phone numbers of the people you graduated with, get their current work/school status and income. then post the results. I am sure if they knew what is was for they would be happy to disclose it to show they are not the only ones who are or feel underemployed and feel that law school was a waste. I would have been happy to scream my frustrations to even the biggest douche I went to school with when i faced the same problems my first year out. The info should be easily obtainable by you nando.

    This is a great blog and points out many issues that we face as a society, not just in legal education. We continue to fund scam artists in all aspects of life whether its law school deans or welfare recipients. This has to stop and can only be done by changing our moral compass as a whole or else a lot of really smart people will have even less of a chance to stand out from their lazy neighbors.

    Preaching aside, since it seems like so many aspects of society are harder, why is law school really any different. As a practicing lawyer for 15 yrs who went to a school like Drake and could not find a job for sometime following graduation while taking on at the time what seemed like crazy loans, I have made a good living and the investment was worth it.

    Is the environment different now? Im sure it is, but so is any profession worth being in. The problem is the under 30 crowd wants things given to them immediately upon graduation. Its not like how was it 20 years ago even if kids who went to school always expected instant gratification. Unless you are from a wealthy background, you have to work and put up with crap before you stand out in this game and even then you have no guarantees. Its the world now. Law and practice has changed in so many ways, but until the places in even crappy schools like Drake do not have ten applicants for every one space, I like to think at some point the law degree pays off for most. It just takes a little adversity which many of todays generation does not want to deal with because they feel like their adversity was taking out a loan and they quit trying when it does not line up for them immediately.

    I feel for all you guys and appreciate this blog, but I would love to see some real information on what Drake graduates from the class of 2009 on back to 2004 are doing. When you can put out some real statistics about real people, unlike what the schools seem to do, you will have real credibility. Until then, I have mixed emotions about the approach you take even if it is hilarious.

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  9. To above poster,

    I go to one of the top 30 schools in the country. Many of my friends can't find jobs and are just about to graduate. Are you fuckin kidding me? People are applying to drakeonian (pun intended) schools because

    1) They don't do research and think they will make tons of money. Of course, they won't, but the point is that law schools are NOT filled up because there ARE prospects, but rather because people are MISINFORMED about their prospects.

    2) They can't find anything meaningful to do with their useless BA's.

    And don't tell myself or any lower ranked school graduate how to feel. You had it easy back then. In fact, I am more qualified in terms of academic ability to practice than you are, give you were a graduate of some crappy school. Why should you get to have a job, and earn a nice living (as you say), while I fight to get a low paying, shitty job, while you're luckyass is criticizing me? Would your perspective be the same if you were to graduate in 2009 or 2008? Who's the hypocrite now?

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  10. you wrote:

    Law and practice has changed in so many ways, but until the places in even crappy schools like Drake do not have ten applicants for every one space,

    ==============


    because the law school cartel floods the media with fake stats.


    =========================
    I like to think at some point the law degree pays off for most.
    ---------------

    Sure it does if you have the family money backing you. Or if you work as a bartender for 5 years while you build your practice. But that goes for ANY business. You could do the same with a sign business etc, if you want to work a second job for 5 years or if you have family money.
    The fact is that the phony stats of the law school cartel lead one to believe that it is a very good bet that anyone can go to law school and make a living right away. Wrong. That is a lie.


    --------------------------
    It just takes a little adversity which many of todays generation does not want to deal with because they feel like their adversity was taking out a loan and they quit trying when it does not line up for them immediately.

    ==================


    We want what the phony stats promised. We want the bargain we struck. To be able to make a living post law school. Right away, like the stats promised. That was the deal. But they lied.

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  11. Why should you get to have a job, and earn a nice living (as you say), while I fight to get a low paying, shitty job, while you're luckyass is criticizing me? Would your perspective be the same if you were to graduate in 2009 or 2008? Who's the hypocrite now?


    My perspective would probably be the same as yours if I was graduating now rather then 20 yrs ago but I am trying to tell you that looking at things now is not what they will be later if you do what the rest of us had to do. You kids are not unique in your problems, just more informed.

    I had to do what most crappy school graduates do for the first year or two after graduation...bartending crappy jobs etc. I eventually found my niche and do fine now. I did not GET to have a job. I worked my ass off and built what I now have.

    You should have no more opportunity or adveristy then I did because you went to a top thirty school. You at a top 30 school are no more qualified to practice law then I was. You probably just did a little better on the LSAT. Impressive. All the schools teach you the same thing about being a lawyer...nothing. So dont feel so entitled.

    One thing I did not do was whine or quit trying because it all was not put on a plate for me after graduation.

    If you keep looking and working and have the proper attitude, things will fall into place. If you are an asshole with a bad attitude, I dont care where you went to school, you will fail.

    Good luck to you.

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  12. well gooooooood fer you. Aint yer mommy and daddy of you. Now go brag on yourself somewhere else...

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  13. @ 6:00/7:05, you may prefer to think that "at some point, the law degree pays off for most", but that does not mean that this is the case.

    You graduated from a low-ranked law school 20 years ago, and you have allegedly done well for yourself. Good for you. The fact remains that most TTT grads today do not have a shot at being successful, if they cannot get hired on by a firm or government agency soon after graduation. How long can graduates afford to put their loans in deferment, watching helplessly as more interest accrues on their loans?

    Here are some differences from when you attended law school: (a) law school tuition is skyrocketing; (b) student loans are now non-dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings – see 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(8); (c) student loan debt levels are at an all-time high – and increasing; (d) the ABA continues to approve and accredit more law schools – resulting in a GROSSLY over-saturated U.S. lawyer market; (e) advances in technology allowing firms to outsource their legal work; and (f) ABA “Ethics” Opinion 08-451, issued in August 2008, which permits U.S. law firms to offshore American legal discovery work to foreign attorneys and non-lawyers.

    Simply put, you did not face these obstacles and market forces when you graduated from law school 20 years ago.

    Go check out this site:

    http://www.abanet.org/legaled/statistics/charts/stats%20-%207.pdf

    This chart shows the number of JDs awarded each academic year from 1980-1981 to 2007-2008. In those 28 years, a cumulative total of 1,083,231 law degrees have been awarded by ABA-accredited law schools. Just in the last five academic years combined, ABA-accredited law schools have handed out a total of 213,685 law degrees.

    In my local area, there are 66 pages of attorney ads in the Yellow Pages – NOT counting the front and back cover attorney ads. Now, how the hell is a recent JD supposed to compete against those odds? Established solos and law firms can blow a newbie out of the water, with their advertising budget alone.

    Here is another practical problem facing new lawyers: established attorneys and their firms are in a position to take the easiest cases. Just ask anyone who has a PI case that is not cut-and-dry. The established firms want to take on “slam dunk” cases. What recent attorney can afford to take the difficult civil and criminal cases, i.e. pay for expert testimony/flight/hotel, depositions, scientific reports/academic journals, etc.?!?! Also, what recent lawyer has the skills to successfully take on these cases? Remember, law schools primarily teach legal theory.

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  14. Nando, you cannot get empathy from older attorneys. NO ONE has endured the situation this generation of grad students is. We should be looking to the depression-era generation for guidance. Heck, unthinking parents are part the reason so many lives are being destroyed.

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  15. Dear toilet lawyer,

    I am responding to your response (to me calling you a luckyass). I surely did better than you on the LSAT. I probably also had a higher GPA as well. I said I was more ACADEMICALLY qualified, not intellectually or otherwise, to practice. And, all things being the same, if you graduated today (and I did as well), your resume would end up being toilet paper for shitlaw firm before mine would. So, really, consider yourself lucky when I call you a luckyass.

    I am only angry with you because you seem to be calling us whiners, complainers, who just want everything given to them. Hey, we're not asking for 160 k jobs, we're only asking for jobs that pay the damn bills. Did you have to take 100 k in debt to go to law school? Hell no you didn't! Did you have zero job prospects? Hell no you didn't! So how dare you come here and criticize us? You haven't been in our shoes. Ever. You are like the fat wallstreet banker who looks down at everyone else and laughs "haha, I went to Drake law school, and now I make millions. Suckers." This is the kind of vibe I get from your post.

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  16. Any chance that you could use a color other than yellow, such as red or orange, for your offset font? Yellow does not show up well in Google Reader.

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  17. Lusty Larrys GOP Love ToiletMay 24, 2010 at 6:52 AM

    CriTTTendon is an ivory tower sludge hypocrite. He deserves to live in a cardboard box and eat dog food to survive.

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  18. Drake Insurance Defense InstituteMay 24, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    http://www.law.drake.edu/admissions/?pageID=livingInDSM

    Welcome to TTT Drake Ins. Defense Institute, where you can learn core legal principles that go to the heart of American jurisprudence. At TTT Drake Ins. Defense Institute, you will be part of an exclusive group of world-class lawyers, public servants and justice-seekers. Des Moines is a regional hub for government, publishing, business, insurance and more. Allow TTT Drake to open the doors to a wonderful future filled with wondrous amazement and wonder. Come set up an appointment to visit our prestigious campus today and talk to a sales associate. We will be happy to welcome you to this phenomenal institution of higher education. Come, make your future happen! You will not be disappointed.

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  19. Wow, anon is the whiniest little bitch I've ever seen. I had a chance to go to a good private law school, but I went to a crappy public law school because I didn't want to graduate with 6 figures of debt. If you want to point a finger at someone for the 6 figures of debt you currently have, I think you can point it squarely at yourself. If you went to law school at any time in the past 10 years, there has been plenty of information about the fraudulent stats and dismal employment prospects, you were either just ignorant or you were one of those people who was just certain you were smarter than everyone else with your oh so stellar academic credentials that landed you in some toilet law school (unless you are going to claim Harvard is what you meant when you said T30).

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  20. I enjoy this blog and it raises good points from both the graduates who complain they cannot get a job and practicing lawyers who fully understand the game has changed but see the "whining" of the recent graduates.

    Assuming you are not an elite who goes to an elite school and has an easier time, albeit not as easy as years ago, getting a job, why did you go to law school? Ask yourself that.

    My guess is most kids who are not blue collar types go to law school because they see no job prospects after college and its a way to postpone reality. You might go to a 3rd tier or worse toilet school, but that does not mean you are not smart. There is a fine line between those in top 30 schools and those that go to toilet law. If you are not elite where most spots in great schools are filled simply by smart kids with legacy advantages or rich families who can make large donations, or a minority who gets preferred admission despite their lack of qualifications when compared to other applicants, you are like most in that you are smart, got a lower test score, yet are fully qualified to attend law school. Once you go anywhere, no one place educates you better then another. Its all about connections and name that might help you get a job. That is why the toilet law schools are full.

    When you get out, you have tons of debt and minimal job prospects. It was like that years ago albeit harder today no question. More loans, slightly harder to get a job, and the practice of law is much harder now as clients are worse to deal with and insurance companies are tougher on claimants and even pay their own lawyers less.

    That being said there are success stories and people make not only a good living but often do very well. It might take time and the stress of debt is not easy, but its the price you pay for a chance to be above average in income.

    continued

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  21. Law is no different then many other professions as wages are being driven down by foreigners who are given easy access to our system and law firms using them to do work for less money. Lawyers from Africa or India will work for less because minimum wage still gives them a better life then living in a tent. Plus being a poor minority who becomes a lawyer is more prestigious to them and their family so they will take less to say they are a lawyer. That pushes everyone else down.

    Its no different in the contracting or blue collar field so if you think going that route is better then doing the law thing think twice. I have many clients who are contractor types who are forced to shut down or hire illegals for less money to actively bid on jobs. Try also getting paid for work you do. Same problems as lawyers have. Foreigners and illegal aliens will work for less and that drives the value of services down and it destroys the profession. Whether this is fair is debatable but its just the reality.

    As a practicing lawyer who has seen business drop over the years, I dont know that i would go to law school now with all these loans and the world being so messed up. Life is short but you still have to make a living. But what else would I do if I am not a blue collar contractor type. Would I take a 100k loan out to invest in a franchise or start some other business? Dont know. Would I want to be a 9-5 guy working at a cookie cutter company at the same salary with idiots who get hired to meet diversity needs or who are not as smart as me, but on paper look just as educated and qualified because I did not pursue law school to avoid debt.

    The world sucks and much can be learned from this blog, but I agree with the poster who stated that the next step is to ignore the law schools employment stats and find the kids who graduated from third tier schools and ask them what are they doing, how much do they make, and are they not practicing because they could not find a job. Start with Drake. What are the graduates doing from 2009 and go back five years. Go back ten years and see if the income made up for the loans because they got established and income spiked thus justifying the loan. I think that would be the best indication as to whether or not law school was the right move.

    Law is not for everyone and the problem is kids often end up in law school for reasons I stated, have the ability to graduate and pass the bar, but are not cut out for law practice. Add the debt and you have some real bitter smart people. It was like that 25 years ago, we just did not have an outlet for it or realize that there are others in the same situation.

    Like the poster above noted, if you knew all this negative stuff, why did you go. Who invests 100k in anything without doing some checking. I am guessing law is like everything else. Its an investment that often fails and carries a lot of risk but people do it because they see others succeed, they dont want to be average in their income or education level, or whatever reason you can think of.

    IF you made a mistake of going and feel that way because you did not land a job right away, then I think there are some other issues.

    I know things have changed and as an older lawyer, I am out of the loop a bit, but many of my classmates could not find a job and who knows what happened, but if Nando has the work ethic to inform the world about what law schools do, I think he could get the info on what the graduates from Drake are actually doing at various stages post graduation. I would be interested in that info too.

    We see the point with all the analysis of each school, but expand what you are doing. If you need a guide, read some Studs Terkel. You could write a similar book involving kids who went to law school and what ended up happening to them.

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  22. Just a question to seasoned practitioners out there. Have you noticed an over flooding of new young attorneys that have been making appearances in court lately? These amateurs don't know what they are doing, are incurring the wrath of the judges and are holding up proceedings because of their incompetence. I think I am going to switch pratices to legal malpractice as I am seeing too many toilet lawyers take cases and fucking up on them. I guess this is what these third tier gutter toilets mean when they say we need more "public servants" and pursuers of justice out there to represent the common "man."

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  23. I recently graduated from Drake Law. At the ceremony, the alumni donation representative stated that our tuition only covered about 60% of the cost of our legal education and that the law school needed donations. So according to their own words, $30,000 a year for tuition is not enough.

    I am in the process of creating a resume that omits law school and lists my tech and customer service jobs.

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  24. hey i wasn't sure what blog post to put this in since its off topic for this particular entry, but I wanted to share. On CNN, there was a video of a student who graduated from NYU (undergrad, just undergrad)and has 275,000 in student loans to repay. I'm like OMG! I hope the link works.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/05/25/am.cho.college.costs.part.2.cnn?hpt=T3

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  25. Recent Drake Law grad,

    Did they also hit you up for a donation at the ceremony? For the Class of 2009, they handed us a little moleskin binder, with a letter from the Drake University Board of Trustees, asking us to donate. Then within 3 months, I received a letter in the mail, imploring me to donate to the school's fundraising campaign. In December, the school sent me yet another solicitation - asking me to contribute to the school. I finally broke down and contributed eight cents to the Law School Annual Fund. Yes, $0.08. Here is documentation of this; by the way, Drake has not even had the decency to add me to their list of contributors.

    http://thirdtierreality.blogspot.com/2009/12/update-drake-law-school-cashed-my-eight.html

    http://thirdtierreality.blogspot.com/2009/12/eight-cents.html

    During the tail end of my first year, I talked to an administrator. We went for a walk, and the conversation got heated. (I swore at him a couple of times, and we each raised our voices.) I told him that I was planning on leaving after the completion of my first year. He went into “sales mode” and told me that law school would benefit me no matter what I did in life. I have talked to others who had similar experiences – the school tells them that they should not “quit” and that a JD is highly-esteemed by non-legal employers, as well.

    After my first year of law school, I worked in tech support. At first, I was frustrated that I ended up working for a temp staffing service. Then, when I was at orientation, reading the employee handbook and filling out work forms, I saw someone in my first year section. I eventually talked to him, and he told me that he had barely missed grading onto Drake Law Review. He was ranked just outside the top 20 students in our class. And he too was working the phones! Yes, what a GREAT summer position, huh?! A high school student could have performed this job. Hell, a trained monkey could have performed the functions of this job.

    At graduation, there were TONS of Drake law students who were unemployed and had NOTHING lined up - including people with top grades! Yes, a few of the proud would sometimes puff out their chests and say things like, “Well, if I volunteer for this judge, he said I might get hired on as a clerk.” Yes, what a great investment, right?!

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  26. I also knew plenty of people in the Class of 2008 who did not have ANYTHING lined up and no job prospects. During the last weeks of my second year, a professor was nice enough to take us all out to a local restaurant. He asked several of the third year students what they had planned after graduation. SEVERAL said they would take the bar exam, but had no job offers or serious prospects. Others would be moving back in with family – I also suffered this same fate. I lived with my sister-in-law for several months, after graduating from Drake University Law School.

    Many people simply went back to their prior fields, upon graduation from this third tier commode. This was typically the case for non-traditional students. Most went back to teaching grade school, working in hotel management, or in the insurance industry. Plenty more were stuck waiting tables. And many were busy being unemployed, frantically looking for work.

    I went to a temp hag agency, and applied for a job reviewing mortgage applications for a financial service company. Basically, you made sure the mortgage applications were filled out correctly? The WAGE - $13 an hour. I was so desperate for work, I told the interviewer that I would take the late shift. Well, guess what happened? I was told that I was over-qualified for the job! Apparently, a law degree is NOT highly-esteemed by non-law employers, after all. (Maybe someone should tell the academics at Drake and other toilets of law about this situation.)

    The recruiter told me that they thought I would not stick around if a better situation presented itself. “We just don’t think you would stay at a $13 an hour job, when you could make much better money at a law firm.” Evidently, this employer was smoking some serious stuff, was ignorant as hell, or pulling my chain.

    An older woman who went to my church was able to get hired for this very same position. She had handled packages for years, as a delivery driver for DHL. She lost her job when the company downsized. She applied for this position and landed it. She even got hired on by the bank, after a few months. This woman was a friend of my wife, and she is a nice lady. Her main advantage over me was that she did not have a college education. But, yes “higher education = personal success and financial security”, right?!?!

    I had a friend who worked in the financial services prior to law school. He could not get back in that field. His father, incidentally, was an insurance lawyer - in the Des Moines - area who topped out at about $50K.

    The moral of the story: law school taints you as someone who expects and demands lots of money for his work. Third tier toilets exist because of government-backed loans, an unstable economy, and general anxiety and desperation from college graduates. They ought to turn this law school into a Burger King.

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  27. Unfortunately you are exactly right Nando. I experienced the same thing but my shit jobs involved less money and less prestige then the $13.00 bucks you talked about. Hell I could not even get a job at a yogurt shop because they were afraid I would leave yet could not keep a high school kid for more then a month.

    Almost two years later I found a job in a law firm making $15.00 an hour. At that point I just wanted to see what it would be like to have my name on a firm letter head and do work as a lawyer even if i was just a glorified paralegal.

    The other associates were never going to be partner and they would not help you with anything. They didnt make much more then I did either but were going to stay because they were happy to have a job that if you lost you could not replace in the shithole town we lived in. It was sink or swim and there was lots of turnover. If you asked if you could learn litigation, you were laughed at.

    If you are even lucky enough to get a job, you have to learn what you can because ultimately you will have to decide whether to go out on your own or quit all together. Pros and cons for both but bottom line is even if you can find a job, it will be low paying for a long time, and when you do well, you get maxed out on salary quick and another young lawyer is brought in when you are forced out or decide to quit.

    I now practice on my own. It was not a passion but something I had to do if I wanted to stay in law. It could be better but it could be worse. You will be self taught but there are listserves in some local academies that will help you. Just because a kid graduated from a top school means little as I am sure many of us toilet lawyers are much better lawyers then they ever hope to be. Its a numbers game and most folks are on the outside looking in.

    For all the negativity though, please tell me some other options. Will you be satisfied with 13 bucks an hour with no debt but minimal pay increases. If so, then my guess is you are not the law school type. People who go to law school want to be rich even if it is just a fantasy.

    I agree with the previous poster. I strongly urge you read some Studds Terkel and you could write a great book on what happens to people as they progress from law school graduation to over a period of years to be some top rich guy lawyer or to toilet scrubber at the local BK lounge. The results of your classmates run the gamut. It would be a fascinating book to see the different paths people end up on all coming from the same shithole that is like Drake law. I have always wanted to do such a book regarding my classmates from the 1995 4th tier toilet school that we graduated from.

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  28. @Amy-10:38AM

    I saw the CNN report. My question is how can a kid rack up $275K in student loan debt for a 4 year degree? Was he dorming at the Ritz Carlton and financing his weekly entertainment at the Emperor's Club (Spitzer's former hangout). I know NYU is expensive but that averages out to $68,750.00 per year (9 months really). What makes this kid's case even more heartbreaking was that he was offered a free ride elsewhere and declined that in exchange for the "prestige" of NYU. He paid sticker for NYU, now commutes from a rathole he shares with 2 other roomates in Pennsylvania, commutes to NYC every day (approx. 2 hours each way) and will never get to buy a home, get married and have a family. In fact the report says if he pays $1,020 every month for the next 26 years, he will have paid his 4 year degree by the time he is 50. WTF is going on in America? What's even more telling about the interview with this kid was the attitude most lemmings have today, meaning they don't think about the math because they can always "worry" about it later after graduation. Well guess what kids, 4 years of college and 3 of law school go by quickly when you are living off of loans. It's those 30-40 years that you spend repaying them back that seem like an eternity.

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  29. Midlaw partner here. There is nothing remotely funny about seeing a young man/woman throw their future away in pursuit of a worthless degree, which is what a juris doctor has become. It is sad that in this day in age, the services of a refrigeration mechanic are in more demand than those that a lawyer can provide (unless the services are pro bono of course). Here is a thought. When Congress amended the bankruptcy code in 2005, it instituted a credit counseling/financial management course requirement prior to filing for consumer bankruptcy and obtaining a discharge. Since student loans are non-dischargeable, wouldn't it follow that the need for counseling and education about student loans be more compelling for college and grad students? You won't see such a requirement being passed anytime soon. You see, student loans have become the new asset backed securities of this decade. Securitized mortgages are junk because devalued homes that have become unsecured can be walked away from by the homeowner followed by bankruptcy. Not the same for student loans. Come to think of it, I am calling my hedge fund manager and asking that my portfolio include Sallie Mae shares.

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  30. New Class of 2009 employed lawyer here (through sheer luck):

    WARNING – This is a rant

    In my know-nothing, liberal arts, type-A obnoxious/obsessive opinion, these tuition numbers have gone to insanity levels for so many ridiculous reasons:

    1) Traditional sources of income such as endowments and state funding have been decimated over the years (wage stagnation of the middle-class, greed of the upper, waste in government, recession, etc.)

    2) Higher Education people want more money for less work (The American Way!)

    3) Federal loan $$$$$ is given out like candy. I feel like I could see a TV advertisement for the current educational loan model at 3:00 am starring Matthew Lesko in one those crazy suits

    Here's how it works kids!

    a) Instead of homes as security use delusional students,
    b) Require no down payment- just a signature and warm body will do,
    c) Use Income based repayment, non-dischargeability, and guaranteed $$$ to protect investors and system against default rates and short-term collapse.
    d) Lobby congress to protect current system
    e) Repeat

    and

    4) Marketing ain't cheap. They don't give out naming rights for free ya know (See University of Phoenix, home of the Arizona Cardinals)

    Our entire generation is being hoodwinked by using our greed/prestige/fear against us. Better (real) stats would help, but let's be honest, even then every applicant would think they would at least be top 50%. Shit even our parents are unknowing accomplices.

    I know I'm going all-crazy conspiracy theory here, but the truth is so clear now IMO. It is truly sad what we are doing to ourselves. And its even sadder when you consider we are probably infinitely more prepared for the workforce than the generation above us was at our age. We just cannot get a chance.

    If we could only band together and vote like we were in our 80s....

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  31. pretty damn sad all the way around. I remember over 20 years ago when those of us who couldnt get jobs with a liberal arts degree just said we would go to law school and see what happens in three years. We assumed we would find a job and pay the loan back. Hell, the jobs were so non existant with basic four year degrees that we would go to summer school at a law school just to gain entrance into a 4th tier pile of crap school, not because we did poorly in undergrad, but because we sucked at standardized tests. Dont underestimate the intelligence of these kids in shitty schools. You Harvard types can blow me.

    Anyway, they would charge summer tuition with no guarantee we get a place. This is a 4th tier school now. We all thought we were the shit just to get to go. If you think the law school scam is a recent thing, its not. But back then we didnt think about it like kids do now.

    Many of us graduates lucked into jobs and firms did hire at shitty pay rates. 20 years later, these firms dont even exist or if they do, staff cuts are atleast 80% and no one makes partner if they are not smart enough to move on. Looking back I was so lucky to get a job and experience yet many in my class did not. You cant even find these people on Facebook they are so embarrased they owed 50-75k at graduation and now cell cemetary property.

    Getting a law degree and having to pay back a loan while working as an insurance adjuster or bartender does one of two things to a kid who gave up his early to mid 20s, prime hedonism time in life when you look your best and will score with chicks like no other time in life absent a big bankroll later on. It either destroys you and you isolate yourself wanting nothing to do with anyone you went to school with or it makes you angry and you express it in different outlets. If you are single after you graduate, good luck finding a decent spouse with the mental state you are in. This problem is not unique to law, but the loans bury you and most cannot recover.

    We are going to destroy many smart people before the law school applications to these lower tier schools dry up. Law School is the modern day lottery ticket and we all know who wins the lottery.


    Now its so much worse and its sad to see kids throw away their future for the potential. No one hires inexperience. They can get a paralegal to do the same work for less. The value of the legal education has dropped while the price has gone up.

    I wont share my shit stories, but I am lucky overall. That being said, law practice has gotten worse and the money has too and I have a nice referral base so the new clients always seem to be there. I do know that will never be reality for most kids that graduate today even if success can be had. I have seen it in recent grads from shit schools.

    Unless you are an elitist, dont go to law school, especially at a lower level school. If i thought I was shitting myself at 25 with 50k in loans owed after graduating to a McJob, I could not imagine it now 20 years later for 2-3 times as much to get the same shitty salary I started at 20 yrs ago.

    I will be glad to get out of the practice of law but saying that I know nothing else so I do the best I can while being very thankful I am not graduating now.

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  32. http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-4316313/Drake-Law-School-dip-more.html

    Drake was briefly in the fourth tier. Oh look, teh dean blamed this drop on faulty career placement stats. What a beacon of intregity these deans are.

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  33. Reagrding the undergrad kid from NYU with $275K of student loan debt. Don't be surprised to see this kid 4 years down the road on 60 minutes when he compounds his current problem by enrolling in law school and taking out another $200K in student loans. Unfortunately, this kid, like many, will see law school as a "solution" to his financial crisis.

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  34. I am a 4L part-time in Cleveland, Ohio. Thankfully, I am still in university bliss of not having to find a job. However, I just wanted to note that here in Ohio my fellow class mates and I have all been able to find various clerking jobs during school paying from $18 - $30 an hour. Many of the big firm offers have been suspended, but most of my friends that graduated in 09' are now gainfully employeed. I also have lots of friends that graduated just this past May with no job in sight. The thing is none of them seem to have these dooms day attitudes. In fact five of my good friends recently started their own firm rather than wait for the job market to turn around.

    So just one question: Why not try to make it on your own? I have always been under the impression that a good lawyer has to be creative. That being said what is stopping anyone from really pounding the pavement and doing standard wills for say $75-$100 bucks a pop. I know that would be a grind but who knows maybe word of mouth will get your name out and you could begin to pull in an income that at least covers the bills.

    Granted I have been employeed by small, medium, and large law firms throughout my law school education so I may be naive to the realities life post-graduation.

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  35. Recent Drake GradMay 26, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    Nando,

    At the graduation ceremony, the alumni rep talked/joked that some of the law graduates will become really successful, and when that happens, they will receive a call about donations. There was some laughter from the crowd; not so much from the graduating students.

    The SBA President also made a joke about student loan debt. Something along the lines of: "I'm indebted to my classmates and professors that helped me along the way. Next Monday I'll be indebted to some student loan creditors." The SBA president also gave a pep talk about staying positive and mentioned that even he did not have a job lined up.

    There seems to be an overall public delusion about the money that a law degress brings in. When people find out I recently graduated law school, they seem to equate it as being rich.

    I have a job interview today, for a non-law job. I took out law school from my resume; but I did leave that I clerked for a law firm. However, I made the job description more like a regular office worker (photocopy, run errands, answer phone calls) than a law clerk (research cases, write memos, motions).

    The first loan payment is due in about 3 weeks. So pretty much any job will be appreciated, and then I have to update my bar application with that job.

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  36. Recent Drake grad,

    I know the outgoing SBA president. He has a good sense of humor, positive energy and a winning personality. He was also very active in extracurricular activities throughout his three years of law school. And he could not find a job! Yes, that is very promising, isn't it?

    Did the "professoriate" at Drake wince when he made that joke about being indebted to student loan companies? He, and MOST of the 141 JDs from the Class of 2010, will be in debt to student loan creditors for the next 25-30 years.

    http://www.drake.edu/news/db/official/archive.php?article=5688

    I see that the commencement address was entitled, "A Time to Lead." Given the abysmal legal job market and the mountains of non-dischargeable student loan debt facing law grads, it would have been more apt for Jane Lorentzen to title her talk: "A Time to Bleed."

    You can contact me at nando9936@yahoo.com. I will not identify you or mention you in any posts or threads, but we can discuss the job market facing Class of 2010 Drake JDs. Thanks! Good luck in your job search, and I hope you continue to follow this blog.

    Lastly, it is true that people still tend to think that a law school graduate has it made. For instance, my father passed away right before first semester finals of my third year. The plot was paid for, but my wife and I had to pay for the service, viewing and casket.

    The salesman, Candy Gray at Palm Mortuary, told me that I could afford a top-of-the-line service and coffin. Apparently, his son is a big corporate lawyer in DC - making serious money. I guess this slick salesman thought I was in the same boat, even though I told him I did not have a job lined up. "But you'll be making some serious change when you DO get a job." My wife and I were able to afford a decent but inexpensive service, but we lived very frugally all three years.

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  37. I'm just sitting here. Another sleepless night feeling completely broken. Just a body without a soul...

    I get so angry thinking about the people that contributed to this mess. People like this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYS5NtRXlZQ

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  38. @8:30

    You asked why we don't just open our own office. Well, have you ever stopped to think what that entails?

    First of all, offices cost money. Unless of course you want to see clients in your apartment. And let's face it--the types of clients that would hire an inexperienced recent grad are not the types of people you want at your place.

    But let's backtrack a bit. How do you get clients? Well, you can try advertising but you're up against thousands of attorneys who have bigger ad budgets than you.

    But let's say you do get a few clients, how much do you think they'll pay you? 50 dollars an hour? 25? Not a chance. The clients with that kind of dough aren't going to come to you.

    More likely, they'll demand a low flat fee--somewhere between a Subway sandwich and an oil change. If you're lucky it will cover your month's electric bill.

    And of course, there's the small matter of figuring out how the fuck to practice law on your own. But hey, worst case scenario is that you'll just end up being disbarred.

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  39. Starting your own law office is a recipe for suicide. I see articles in the local newspaper all the time about "enterprising" young lawyers who hang out their shingle because they can't get real jobs.

    They actually have a kind of corral for them downtown, some genius rented out a whole floor of an office tower, and then sublet it to dumbass law grads who pay monthly rent for their own cubicle and phone-answering service, so they can have an "office."

    You know that old saying "fool me once..." ? Well, if you were scammed by your law school and couldn't get a job except to pay $1,000-$1,500 a month for a cubicle and call it your law office, wouldn't you think twice? What about these new solos who pay $10-12k a year for "small firm counseling" as described in this article?

    http://www.startribune.com/business/90054537.html

    Law school and post-law school are just great opportunities to milk suckers for all they are worth, and then some.

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  40. Maybe my education at my Cleveland School has been a little more practical than Drake provides. Not saying that I would be comfortable hanging a shingle right of law school, but if I was forced to I certainly would rather than moping around and complaining.

    In Ohio upon completion of 60 credits any law student can apply to the Ohio S.C. for a law internship license. This license grants the law student all of the practicing authority of a licensed attorney except all your work has to be signed reviewed by a duly licensed attorney. My school encourages this process since a majority of students participate in clinics where they represent clients from initial intake to trial.

    In addition my school provide a course that is about starting your own solo practice. It takes you from the initial business plan to opening your doors. As a result of this experience i think many student would be capable of operating a very SIMPLE practice. Most likely something like $500 DUI's and $100 wills. Not glamorous, but if you can't find a job you might as well just dive in head first.

    Also, don't you have to shift some blame to the current economy and not simply put all the blame on the school?

    Either way...I am sure I will have a change in tune when i graduate next year, but I am just trying to keep a positive outlook.

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  41. Next up on your to do list: Willamette University College of Law. And please be sure to mention how it lures people in with promises of substantial scholarships, which are subsequently revoked as a result of ludicrous curve, which places half the class with a GPA below 2.8. Yeah, good luck transferring with grades like that. So you're left paying sticker price for the next two years, that is, if you're still even admitted. Slip below a C average across the board and they thank you for your tuition donation and kick you out. Ready, set, GO!!

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  42. Man, you post a lot about drake. What we ever do to you?Oh wait, yeah. Gave you a degree "for free".......how will you ever survive?

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  43. March 28, 2011 2:22 PM:

    Law Schools are known cash cows. The few people that get to go there on a ride are good publicity for these toilets, nothing more.

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  44. I can back up Nando with regard to Drake,as I am a relatively recent graduate. I cannot speak for people who remained in Iowa, but those of us who attempted to leave the state found the Drake name did not travel far and rarely was able to compete with the in-state law schools. I am hoping that I can return to Iowa and make a go of things, but in this economy I am skeptical.

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  45. Drake has a certain regional dominance in central Iowa, which could be maintained by about 20 graduates per year. Unfortunately, the other 130 grads are basically out of luck, but at least you have the consolation of knowing that more Drake grads are judges in the state than UI grads. And, you can lie on your job applications and say you are a "grad student" when you apply for part-time janitorial positions so that you might actually get an interview.

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  46. I graduated from Drake Law about a decade ago and left Iowa to return to my home state to practice. The first splash of cold water for me was when I passed everything in the bar exam except the state portion. I had to struggle to learn my state's law on my own in order to retake the bar exam and pass. The fact that I had learned Iowa law over the three years I was in law school there didn't help me at all.

    Then came the lack of job prospects, the rejections from non-law employers who felt I would leave as soon as something better came along (well, really, who doesn't leave a job anymore when something better comes along??), and the fact that none of the legal employers had ever heard of Drake. In fact, even today, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Drake Law grads practicing law in this state. Oh, and one Drake Law grad who is not practicing here.

    I was forced to open my own practice if I wanted to stay in the legal profession, but what no one tells you is that there are peaks and valleys to a solo practice. Some months I don't bring in a cent, but still am busy working for clients who paid me fixed fees and then their cases spiralled out of control because an opposing counsel decided to be a prick and bury me in mostly unnecessary discovery requests; or a client decides he doesn't like how I'm doing my job and wants to tell me how to practice the law. Did I mention that I can't afford to hire even a part time secretary? So I'm stuck doing my own administrative work as well as the legal work.

    My credit is shot, but at least I live in a home where I can actually have my own law office, so my overhead is negligible, except for paying for the phone, the internet, advertising, malpractice insurance fees, bar fees, bar section fees, bar subscription fees, debt service on my $105K student loans, printer and office supplies, and on and on.

    I am fortunate that my partner has a stable and relatively well-paying job, so we won't loose the house, or not be able to put food on the table. But during the peak times, I bring in enough to pay current my delinquent bills and occasionally take my family out for a nice meal or to a movie.

    But I shouldn't complain. I have clients who are very loyal to me, and I to them. I've only had one bar complaint, and it was found to be spurrious and dropped.

    I really don't blame my training at Drake. I have found that, with the exception of not having learned my home state's law while going to Drake, my overall training is on par with most of my colleagues. The biggest on-going handicap is that those colleagues who went to law school here have a distinct advantage in moving up the professional ladder because it's all a good-ol'-boys network, and I sacrificed my network when I left Iowa. My choice. My responsibility.

    This is an interesting blog, Nando. I agree with much of what you have posted, and have found from my own experience that the criticisms you make are largely well-founded. Keep up the good work!

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  47. I'm curious about the original poster's class rank. I graduated from Drake about a decade ago. I studied my ass off and was one of only five students to graduate with Highest Honors. I got a job outside of Iowa and work for a shitlaw firm with fellow attorneys who graduated from mostly Top 20 schools. The ones who are from regional schools graduated in the top 5% of their classes.

    If you go to a 3rd Tier law school, you should only do so with your eyes open. I went to Drake because I quit my job to be a full-time law student. I lived in Des Moines at the time, and Drake really was the only place that made sense for me. I was taking a huge chance by quitting my job. By going to Drake, I didn't have the extra expense of moving or selling my house. My employer had also told me they would take me back if law school didn't work out (as long as I went back to sucking my boss's dick 5x a week. I did it for ten years before so it was no biggie.).

    I knew going into it that if I wanted opportunities to work at anything but McDonald's or Wendy's, I'd have to do very well. I ended up doing that anyway a little after passing the bar but that's a different story. I never expected to do as well as I did, but I earned my opportunities. I knew what I had to do, and I buckled down and did it.

    I also knew that my opportunities outside of Iowa were going to be limited. Drake is no different than any other regional school. Most students wind up practicing in Iowa. I didn't have connections outside of Iowa, yet I still landed a summer associate position at an out-of-state firm (by sucking the hiring manager's dick but it was worth it). That's how I got my current job of sucking dicks.

    My professors were mostly very good. Professor Dore was a wonderful Civ Pro and Evidence prof. Professor Albert was a great Torts prof. Professor Strassberg challenged us to think deeper about contract law, although I have to admit that her approach threw me some. I had great Con Law profs. One moved to Florida after my first year (Tom Baker--TOUGH prof but man was he a great teacher). Professor Hunter was 2nd year Con Law and Federal Jurisdiction. He was a great prof. Professor Weresh was a great first year writing instructor. Professor Adams was tough but fair and a great Crim Prac Pro prof. I took class seriously, read all my cases and was prepared every day.

    I took an out-of-state bar exam and passed easily on my first try (sucking off every member of the board probably helped). I have to laugh at the above poster who wrote that he had to learn his state's law. Duh! You learn the common law and federal law for the most part in law school. I had to learn my state's law for the bar exam. It wasn't that hard. Nowhere near as some of the dicks I've sucked over the years. But I do it anyway.

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  48. @6:00 and 7:05. All you have to do is look at NALP numbers to see some pretty reliable, grim statistics on the legal profession. True, a lot of bad news is anecdotal. Some of it is shocking, almost unbelievable, but sadly very true. A story about the law graduate 300K in debt, moving back home, no law job after a protracted job search, and making pizzas. The law dean at the same bottom ranked school pulling in over $800K a year. There are many, many of these stories with law school graduates. I DON'T see any of these type of stories with medical or dental school graduates.

    Many of the basic legal services, divorce, immigration, bankruptcy, real estate, criminal, etc., are flooded by attorneys fighting each other for bottom level, flat rate fees. Many courts offer free do it yourself packets of paperwork, free attorney services, and instructions to do things pro se. A lot of self-help guides on the internet. Legal Zoom do it yourself. Law schools keep poring tons of starving, non-trained, law grads into the glutted job market.

    Try looking for a free dentist or do it yourself dentistry.


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