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.


  1. "(b) DO NOT, under any circumstances, accept non-paid legal positions..."

    I would go further -- stop participating in the legal "profession" altogether. Find something else to do (something you love doing) and be sure to let everyone know that law isn't worth your time.

  2. I attended law school with nando. Although I don't agree with dragging Drake through the mud, I have to agree with his view that there are too many JDs produced each year in this nation. The figures presented and the job listings posted are downright depressing. I guess I should note, too, that I have never found work as a lawyer. And I know this is the same for many recent Drake JDs. My counsel? I echo above: get out entirely and don't look back. You can make more working at Home Depot.

  3. There was a dream that was America.

  4. I graduate from a top 50 program in two weeks. I don't have a job lined up, and yes I will have another $98,000 in student loans to pay back. Shit, even my gf left me. but do you see me bitching about the market? No, I am out there faxing, mass mailing and emailing cover letters, resumes, professional references to 100s of employers. I have done so since June of last year. Who gives a flip if there are 43,000 new JDs out there? What has that got to do with anything, angry loser? What did you do, except start some angry blog trying to cut down on your potential competition.

  5. @bootstrap:

    Let's see your tune after a year or two. Most of us have already applied to thousands of positions over the 3 years of law school and the ensuing years of unemployment.

  6. middle class conMay 2, 2010 at 6:37 PM


    At least your ex-girlfriend was smart enough to cut her losses. Your job prospects are as flaccid as the space between your legs where your penis should go - if you were actually worthy of one. You should post that paragraph on your E-harmony account. Look out, ladies! Single and making a $100k per year - in student loan deferment requests.

    If you're a chic - your best bet is to upload some of your old sex tapes online for cash. Bin Lee Abbah may find them useful in his criminal law studies.

  7. Bootstrap bill:

    Good luck on your job search. You say that your graduating from a top 50 school. You may have a chance. Some people are getting jobs out there. You could get lucky as i know others that have gotten lucky. Many will be unlucky and will never obtain legal employment.

    Nando is not a loser. Nando is very smart creating a blog like this. At least he accepts the reality of his situation. Many others never will. Many others will continue feeling like shit about themselves because they will never find work in the legal field. Many will wrongly put all the blame on themselves. Very few will put most of the blame on the law school fraud complex and partial blame on themselves for not being more cynical and suspicious of employment prospects outside of school and for not doubting ABA approved employment data.

    I went to a fucking tier 4 piece of shit in CALI. I also relied on the data i read in the ABA posting. Of course, i also PARTIALLY blame myself. In the end a great life long lesson has been learned. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Many of us who recognize that LS was a scam will NOT be fooled again. Others who go around with their heads low will blame themsleves, thereby not becoming more suspicious about this increasingly fraudlent world we live in and will get scammed again.

    Live and learn. Good luck in your search. I sincerely hope you land something. If you dont you can join forces with us and help pop the LS bubble.

  8. Don't bother offering any constructive comments here, bootstrap...this site is all about manipulating the facts to attract attention and suit the blogger's woe-is-me approach to life. It's obvious he will be sub-par in whatever profession/occupation he chooses; so it's easier for him to mock and ridicule that which he could not achieve for I right? And the others on here who parrot his views seem to have similar issues with self-worth. Bottom line is that no one ever promised you anything. If you thought you would have no problem finding a job after law school, then you were the one who was mistaken. Placement statistics are just that--statistics. Much like any other investment, "past performance does not guarantee future results."

  9. I can't stop laughing at the troll comments on your blog Nando.

    There's no point in arguing with the trolls, I just wanted to post my support for you since I know the trolls tend to stick more in people's minds, and you might feel that you're wasting your time blogging.

    You're not, I've seen a few comments for people that you've actually saved. The trolls are probably not lawyers or anything else, not law faculty either, they're just trolls. I mean logically speaking you have to find a blog like this, and you find blogs like this if you look for them. You look for them if you know it's a problem, because you're in that same predicament, or because you're doing research on something you're skeptical of.

    I usually do google search for scams if there's a product or company I question. So I find sites like that usually when I look for them.

    So here, obviously these guys looked for law school scam, or unemployed attorneys, or something to that effect.

    But nando you may wonder if, if what I've posted is true (it is, trust me on this) then why are they being trolls? It's simple, they're doing it just to fuck with you. They're miserable losers, and they just want to make others miserable. These are the most pathetic type of people on the planet, and you won't actually really see this in person, because nobody will talk to people like this. So the internet has an abnormally large amount of trolls like this.

    You can see it in LOTS of different fields and areas. A lot of times it's corporate. For instance Sony and MS have huge fanbases that will ignore any complaints or problems and attack anybody for reporting one. I used to think these people were on the payroll, but I then came to understand they weren't. It's just people need to identify with something and then attack others over it. This is why cults are so effective.

    Anyway keep up the good fight nando. Personally I'd either ignore them or just not publish their comments, but that's me. They can always make their own pro-law school blogs. Obama claims every 2 weeks the economy is recovered, so they can post a blog entry every 2 weeks saying how awesome law is and pretending everyone makes 6 figures and has legal employment.

  10. Trolling for TrollsMay 2, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    jl @7:01: "I mean logically speaking you have to find a blog like this, and you find blogs like this if you look for them. You look for them if you know it's a problem, because you're in that same predicament, or because you're doing research on something you're skeptical of."

    Ha ha! Or "logically" a true TROLL posts links to his TTT blog in another blog's comments section for a totally unrelated story, essentially saying, "EVERYONE LOOK AT ME!!! I'M BITTER AND WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW IT'S SOMEONE ELSE'S FAULT!!!"

    Thanks for playing.

  11. You know not to have this devolve into a petty argument, because I'll win, but just a few quick notes. Holy shit bootstrap!

    "I am out there faxing, mass mailing and emailing cover letters, resumes, professional references to 100s of employers. I have done so since June of last year."

    You don't have a really good, high paying, fulfilling job by now with all that effort? What a fucking "loser" you must be. Also how low were your grades/test scores to be in that much debt at this point? What a fucking "loser" you must be. Didn't you get a scholarship or a full ride? Turn back the brain throttle Einstein you're burning up!

    What's that? You're girlfriend left you!?! You're kidding! But that doesn't make any sense! Because the context in which you provided that information implies that it has to do with your current career trajectory (as opposed to interpersonal problems and/or someone else was a better boyfriend/lover than you). Because you sound fucking wicked awesome man!

    I don't get it you non-whining job seeker you! You, as opposed to those 40K+ other JDs out there you don't give a flip about, you, Bill & company, are the diamonds in the rough. At this point, I feel like I should write to you in the greatest of hopes that you may lower yourself to provide me with an autograph before you skyrocket to the stars of the highest worldly success. I foresee immortality of both your name and deeds, future legend! I want to get in on the ground floor before the rush of people selling your john hancock on ebay.

    As I said I don't really want to get into any kind of argument, just read the blogs or don't or, Hell, even take a minute to refute them with something, other than logical fallacies (if everyone is just so off-base and bitter whiners who can't do anything but blog). "Loser."

  12. did your mom not hug you enough?May 2, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    dbag @7:23

    That's the difference between bootstrap and you, the blogger, and others like you...he's not on here telling others how horrible his plight is because life isn't fair. He's pointing out that while he finds himself similarly situated, his solution is not to wallow in self-pity and attempt to bring others down in the mire with him. Instead, he's actively seeking a legal position through hard work and creativity...traits all employers value.

    Your snarky response to his encouraging, glass is half-full optimism is petty, childish, and spiteful. You epitomize "Loser." HTFH.

  13. middle class conMay 2, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    "Placement statistics are just that--statistics. Much like any other investment, "past performance does not guarantee future results.""

    Nice analogy, except that people who misrepresent investment "statistics" are prosecuted criminally. It's called fraud. Oh, I think there is some type of regulatory agency out there that monitors such "investments" to protect people with disposable play money from such fraud, too. I believe it has the letters S, E, & C in its name - not 100% on that one though; maybe you could give me some constructive criticism? But I could see why it makes much better sense to protect capital investors than 22-year-old middle class students.

  14. @8:04 PM

    There is no evidence being presented here that establishes any school's placement stats as fraudulent. The author uses hyperbole and assumptions to conclude without proving that the NUMBERS MUST LIE! His logic is: I don't have a job, and I know others who don't have jobs, so the schools must be fudging the data. No wonder he's not a lawyer...

    Look, I don't have a problem with someone objectively stating the facts about tuition, salaries, and job prospects in a way that informs and educates would-be students; but this site's "I'm on a mission from God" mentality is over the top.

  15. middle class conMay 2, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    @ 8:09

    Grab a handful of dexies and some generic soft Cialis tablets. He has more than assumptions -

  16. Nando saved me. Been following his blog a long time too. Just like to keep tabs on the sector. Nando already knows my grip about the whole attending law school scam.. At least there are chicks out there in law school. In the real world there's just a bunch of old married people.

    penn cruncher

  17. @8:24 PM

    Really? You've been following this since way back since Aug of 2009? Wow, 9 long months--that's commitment. You should apply that same level of effort to your professional life...

    And, in response to the rest of your comment: wtf are you talking about??

  18. @ "yawn"

    I don't need numbers to confirm what is right in front of my face. I will be graduating from law school in two weeks--top 10%, law review, etc. To borrow the words of another scam blogger, "I did everything right." I've done my best to get my name out there; I've applied to countless jobs, tried to network, and have even volunteered. However, despite these efforts, I don't have a job. In fact, I'm pretty much out of leads at this point.

    What's really scary isn't that "I don't have a job" or that "I know others that don't have a job"; it's that, out of a class of over 200 students, less than 25 HAVE jobs (at least half of which have come from personal connections). Get off your soap box an open your eyes. There will be thousands and thousands of 2010 graduates out of work and drowning in debt.

    So what's your story?

  19. First of all, Nando has never bitched about his life on this site. All he's doing is explaining the reality to people who are uninformed. If you ask me, it's a public service.

    Second, it's clear that the trolls aren't successful attorneys. I know a few attorneys who are doing quite well (they graduated decades ago) and even they know how shitty the market is for new grads. One of them even told me he would've never gotten into his top 10 school had he graduated from college today as opposed to in the 70's.

    Some of the trolls are currently attending one of the featured schools and think that Nando is hurting their job prospects. Because, as we all know, if it wasn't for this blog they'd all be making bank at Jones Day.

  20. Wow, Nando is good. He used his mind control powers to get the deans of two law schools to admit some of their stats are BS:

  21. @8:41 PM

    It's been a lot longer then 9 months. I've been cuing into the whole law school blog network since the collapse of lehman. I basically was saved from a lifetime of crippling debt. And no I wasn't going to take out loans, I've been working since I've been about 15 and have saved up almost a 130k now. I'm glad I didn't go.

    I think a lot of people don't care about the debt level because they get the loans so easily. They didn't have to save and sacrifice to get the money. When it's time to return the loan then they'll feel the struggle

  22. And I already know who you are. You're a 0L troll or a 1L troll. You sincerely believe you are 'special'. There was even a newspaper article about how law school students think "they have good chances" but "the rest of their class not so much". You are such a delusional group. The media pumps you up so much into belevinging you will all become partners at V100 firms and what not. You all blatanltly jump off a cliff together in a giant circle jerk under the premise that more education is better, etc..

    Have fun paying down your student debt, trying to get a job and paying the minimum balance on your credit card that you used to buy a single hermes tie and some cheap knockoff ferragamo boots .

    It's sad cause it's true. You just blatantly ignore the numbers. Sure I don't make a lot of money but at least I don't have a giant debt load to deal with in my life.

  23. I am not on a mission from God. If I had that mindset, I would simply turn the other cheek. Do you have more respect for someone who knows something is a fraud, but doesn’t warn others? If you were assaulted by your boyfriend, would you report his ass to the cops? Or just let him move on to the next victim?

    Bootstrap, it seems like law school really paid off for you, huh? What a great investment you made. At least you were honest. You could have said you went to a TTTT, graduated top half of the class and are now making $109K a year.

    Apparently, a lot of the trolls on here are unable to mathematically understand things. For instance, look at the last post, where William Mitchell Commode of Law claims the average starting salary for those in private practice is $71K for the class of 2008.

    According to the school’s figures, there were 147 JDs in this class who were in private practice. Of those, 71 were in firms of 2-10 lawyers; 25 were (allegedly) hired by law firms with 11-25 attorneys; and 12 were solos. As you can see, 83 people were in toiletlaw, whereas only 17 had (supposedly) had been taken on by firms with more than 100 lawyers.

    Are you telling us that small law firms are now starting people out at $60K or so, to make it somewhat plausible that these figures are true? (I know plenty of small law attorneys who still make $40-$45K – after 3-4 years on the job.) Because you know for a fact that solos are making peanuts, taking court-appointed cases.

    Or the other logical conclusion is that since only 213 graduates – out of 318 JDs – supplied income data, those on the lower end of the salary spectrum did not report their income (out of embarrassment or shame). Perhaps some of these people did report their info, and the school conveniently “misplaced” this info. (Things get misplaced all the time, right? For $ome rea$on, it seems like this never happens when Biglaw JDs report their income, however. Schools have been known to report people as employed, if they have not received a timely response to the graduate employment survey.

    Law schools have also been known to puff up their judicial clerkship info to the NALP. Schools do not need to submit their SELF-REPORTED salary info to an independent audit. Law schools also like to hire recent grads as temporary research assistants, and prorate the hourly rate to reflect a full-time, year-round position. Schools have little chance of getting caught – and NO shot at facing punishment from the ABA. That is a recipe for fraud, isn’t it? (Would YOU allow a professional thief to watch your house, when you are gone for the weekend?)

    And we are expected to believe that these figures are accurate?! Why? Because someone in authority said that these are the reported figures? Well, you can go along and be a nice little robot. If you notice, whenever I ask someone from the school – or the trolls – to prove that these figures are accurate, all we get in response is silence.

    So that does not equal the following - “His logic is: I don't have a job, and I know others who don't have jobs, so the schools must be fudging the data. No wonder he's not a lawyer...”

    To those considering law school, look at the responses from the industry apologists above. These people only rely on ad hominem attacks, because they cannot back up their argument with the facts. They have often ended up with $100K+ in additional (non-dischargeable) debt and no job prospects. Instead of being upset with the lying, deceitful law school industry, they turn their anger against the people who are trying to expose the racket and inform others. How is that rational behavior?

  24. The attorney I work for turned me on to this blog. I was accepted to a TTTT school that's in the middle of nowhere basically. Even though there were some aspects of the school I really liked, I've decided not to go based on the fact for my first yr it was gonna cost me 50K (all in loans) And it's a 4th tier. They didn't come right out and say it, but they did allude to the whole dire job prospect situation at admitted students day. And before you ask, yes my numbers suck. The LSAT is a cruel mistress that I wasn't able to master. I had considered taking the test again, but it would have been for a 4th time (last time I took it was 2 yrs ago with a whole lot of prep and even a class, still only managed 1 pt when I was practicing a lot higher)

    I don't want to be 100K+ in debt and end up getting a job making $10-15/hr. Hell I make $10 hr now. The state law school where I live is where I wanted to go, but unfortunetly I couldn't get in. I have several friends that have gone there, go there now, and some that just got in. One of my friends that graduated last year told me that a lot of his graduating class were still having trouble finding jobs and some even just started an office out of their homes (which the school counted in their employment numbers) I never intended to go BigLaw. I wanted to stay in my state and either work for the state or be a prosecutor, but there is fierce competition for those jobs. I am really glad I found out about this blog, as well as several others, because it doesn't matter if the blogger is just whining about his/her situation, at least they are giving you a true picture of the situation. I go to church with one of the county prosecutors and she was telling me her niece's boyfriend was graduating from a top law school, honestly can't remember which one she told me, and he hasn't been able to find a job. If graduates from top law schools are having trouble finding jobs, how well does that bode for graduates from the lower tiers? Such a dream killer.

  25. I've been reading Nando since he started this blog, but this is the first time I've felt compelled to comment.

    Bootstrap, things are really bad out there.

    And as you require credentials, here are mine: T2, law review, crippling debt burden.

    But I have special insight into many law schools and the job prospects their students have as I am now a shill for a bar review company.

    The cruel irony is not lost on me...without the lemmings, I would have no job. Even so, I discourage every 0L I meet from succumbing to the Law School Scam, but like Cassandra, my warnings invariably go unheeded.

    I travel from school to school, some TTTT, some T14, and things are really bad out there, plain and simple. Only about 40% of my top tier students are getting those illusive offers at some Biglaw firms, but they have no idea when or if they will ever start their jobs considering the fact that the 2009 class has not yet started working for the most part.

    For the T2-TTTT kids, it's dire news. I can assure you that no one has jobs, literally no one. At my alma mater, the T2, law review kids, typically the big lottery winners, are all looking for jobs even now. I can only think of one student with an "offer" at Biglaw, but it so happens that I'm friends with an attorney at the same firm who is pretty sure that those offers will soon be revoked.

    Send all the blind resumes you want, will get you nowhere. Biglaw, midlaw and shitlaw are all inundated with resumes. They don't even bother wading through them.

    I have been out for a few years now, and my attorney friends never post jobs...they send emails to their friends asking for leads.

    I understand Bootstrap's need to rationalize his position by calling us losers, but he will soon realize that what we are saying is true. The profession of law has been irrevocably changed, bad economy notwithstanding, and the bubble is about to burst.

  26. Posting "anonymous" b/c not taking time to register.

    I may be remembering this wrong, but I am sure skewed Cooley's employment stats for 2008, as I am sure many others have. I was/am still working my non-legal job making $100K plus. After graduation the survey form came... are you working? 'Yes.' Select what range you are in. 'Check.' Employment survey was not geared toward nailing down whether one is employed in a legal capacity and what that salary was.

  27. curious as to what non legal job you are working in which you make 100K. I'd love to make even half that, but sadly I'm only making a mere fraction

  28. Reply to anonymous 7:19. Its actually a technical "career" with a fair amount of regulatory and legal interaction, so my calling it a "job" is not wholly accurate. Also, I graduated in my 40s, so this didn't happen overnight. Should have gone with the new Mustang as my mid-life crisis indulgment instead of the T4JD :)

    I had a few firms showing interest, but nothing ever came of it - and I thank God for that. I consider myself VERY lucky... did not graduate with school-related debt, did not set myself back career-wise, and perhaps got some valuable experience from the law school gig. The price paid on time away from family and stress on the household was NOT worth it.

  29. I was on the editorial board of my Law Review in 2009. My activities for today will consist of searching the job boards, going for my afternoon walk, and then going to my part-time temp job in a non-legal profession where I will make HALF of what document review attorneys will make.

    The happiest news I've had in the past couple of weeks is that a doc review shop in my hometown made it sound somewhat promising that I could actually get on a gig. If I got one of these, this means that I could still look for a job without worrying about withdrawing from a bunch of b.s. court appointed cases (that's a big deal because you have to send certified letters giving your client notice and since I wouldn't have actually "finished the case," by taking it to resolution the pro-rated payment received for the services will probably cover the cost of the certified letter, gas/parking, and the Subway sandwich I ate near the courthouse the day that I took the appointment).

  30. p.s. I probably would have gone ahead and taken the court appointed cases, but the market is so absolutely dead in this city that I don't see how that I would actually find employment.

  31. Nice site, very informative. I like to read this.,it is very helpful in my part for my criminal law studies.

  32. Locke, I, too, am a "double agent."

    I'm a scamblogger but also an employee of the law school industrial complex. It's a sad irony, but it's the only decent job I could find with my degree that could pay the bills.

  33. pick yourself up by your bootstrapsMay 3, 2010 at 8:52 AM

    I don’t know why I bothered wasting my time reading these comments and personal attacks against me. No one has proven that there are too many lawyers out there. And I am having diffculty processing how these supposed law review guys could not find anything out there. I didn’t even make it onto a secondary journal at my school. At least, I have an excuse for being unemployed. demosthenes(!), my gf (of 2 years) did leave me b/c I am not working. But do I let that poison my mind, and make me bitter? Unlike a lot of those comments, I get back on my horse and keep plugging away. Try it sometime, you might surprise yourself. Also, what grown man encourages others to live at home to save money on education. I could've stayed with my parents, but what woman wants to date a 26 year old that lives with his damn parents? I am glad I got my own place, even if it meant I had to take out more loans.

    Bottom line: pick yourself up by your bootstraps and quit cryiong over spilled milk.

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. BS,

    You don't have to read the scam blogs to know that there are too many lawyers out there. Wall Street Journal, Fox, New York Times, and the Chicago Tribune have all picked up on it. But they leave it open ended as to why there are too many lawyers or what to do about it.

    These blogs provide answers and solutions.

  36. 45,000 graduates > lawyer openings on USAJOBs, Monster, Craigslist, Symplicity, Attorney Jobs, Career Builder, the local want ads

  37. 45,000 UnemployableMay 3, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    He's got a big gold ring what says "Jesus Saves"
    And it's dented from the punch thrown at work that day
    When he smashed the metal locker where he kept his things
    After the big boss said, "You best be on your way"

    Oh yeh
    So this life is sacrifice

    Oh yeh
    Jumping trains just to survive

    Well, his wife and kid are sleeping but he's still awake
    On his brain weighs the curse of thirty bills unpaid
    Gets up, lights a cigarette he's grown to hate
    Thinking if he can't sleep, how will he ever dream?

    So this life is sacrifice

    Oh yeh
    To a stranger's bottom line

    I seen the light,... Uh-oh oh oh, uh-oh oh oh
    I's scared alive,...

    Near to death,... Uh-oh oh oh, uh-oh oh oh
    I seen the light,...
    Scared alive.

    So this life is sacrifice

    Oh yeh
    They can't say I never tried

    I seen the light,... Uh-oh oh oh, uh-oh oh oh
    I's scared alive,...

    Near to death,... Uh-oh oh oh, uh-oh oh oh
    I seen the light,...

    Scared alive,.... Uh-oh oh oh, uh-oh oh oh
    Near to death.

    Hear to die.
    Scared alive.

    Near to death.
    Here to die.
    Scared alive.

  38. I predict within 10 years, BigLaw will be decimated to the point where it will be more like the accounting industry's version of the Big 4. Many big firms are dissolving as business and several practice areas (e.g., commercial real estate, M&A, etc.) have dried up. Litigation has also slowed down as many clients do not want to pay for "papering" your adversary to death. Saying that there are too many lawyers is a known fact, not a myth. The amount of avaliable legal positions is shrinking and without any legal training, JD graduates or newly licensed attorneys are worthless. In sum, I wouldn't say law school is a scam but rather a horrible investment (think penny stock or junk bonds). Do the law schools lie? Of course they do, but they do it under the veil of ignorance. You see these post graduate employment surveys don't distinguish if the grad is employed in the legal profession or whether they are practicing law or washing cars. It is undeniable that the law schools play with these numbers. Asking someone to prove this practice is ongoing is like asking someone to prove whether a few people cheat on their taxes.

    As a partner at a mid-sized firm, I don't give a damn if you shepardized or edited a note for your school's law review journal or that you received "glowing" reviews from judges (who probably "volunteered" in exchange for CLE credit and a decent lite dinner spread) during your moot court competition. What I value more than anything else is experience, proven results in this industry and the ability to rainmake. A JD from Cornell on your resume will not impress me. However, if you put $2M of portable business on your resume, I may actually read your cover letter.

  39. So you have it. Above is how Midlaw hires. Biglaw goes by class rank from the top schools. And that's why the LSAT is more important than the bar!

  40. Lusty Larry's Hot GOP ToiletMay 3, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    Do not despair! The Valvoline Dean is paying top graduates of his Seton Hall Law Toilet $10 an hour to shine his brand new Mercedes AMG! This is even classified as a 'legally-related' position in the school's employment statistics!

  41. "Who gives a flip if there are 43,000 new JDs out there? What has that got to do with anything, angry loser?"

    Simply put, there isn't enough paid legal work to go around. Why do you suppose you've sent out "hundreds" of resumes and can't find a job?

  42. bootstraps has to be a fake. no proof that there are too many lawyers? GF left him to lick envelopes and he's refusing to move back in to save on rent? if this is a real person the GF left him because he is stubborn and delusional, unemployment aside.

    I'm a successful lawyer, but I'm no fool: I appreciate the role pure dumb luck played in allowing me to develop a career of sorts, and I remember what things were like before the luck (desperately hurtling toward real poverty).

    the 0L relative I cannot save doesn't tell me that I'm a loser/failure in the law. rather, I'm a jerk because I got mine and I must think I'm better... it's like I'm Tom Vu telling you NOT to invest in real estate.

    those are the options for us experienced lawyers/law grads: we are either failures, or arrogant. People out there want to believe their fantasies about the law business, and any information that spoils the fantasy is to be discounted and rejected. their only credible source will be their own experience, once it is too late.

  43. Hey, Bootstrap,

    No evidence that there are too many lawyers and not enough jobs, well, tell that to NALP:

    Again, I would like to point out that if you do not have a job offer going into the bar exam, it is unlikely that any employer will even give you an interview until after you have been sworn in.

    You must know some 2009 and 2008 grads from your school who are still looking for work...are all of them "losers" too?

  44. NYU grad, laid off from an AMLaw 200 firm and now I can't even get firms to send me a rejection letter. That's how fracked up the economy is, and how worthless of an education you get from even the elite law schools.

    But, I am somewhat relieved to find another blogger out there who makes my angry rants sound moderate.

  45. BTW Nando, you forgot to wish the class of 2010 good luck! Seriously y'all good luck and there are more than plenty of people in the water with you! But if you're looking for help/commiserating/inspiration/venting/whatevs you'll probably find more people on the internet willing to talk about it as most classmates & people on the street.

  46. To the industry apologists and lemmings,

    Go check out this site:

    According to the ABA, for the 2007-2008 academic year, ABA-accredited law schools awarded 43,588 JDs.

    For 2006-2007, a total of 43,518 JDs were awarded.

    For 2005-2006, 43,883 people received a law degree from an ABA-approved law school.

    For the 2004-2005 school year, 42,672 JDs were awarded.

    For 2003-2004, freshly minted JDs numbered 40,024.

    Get the picture? This is why law students and lawyers individually send out hundreds of resumes and cover letters, and do not receive so much as a single, solitary phone call or email from potential employers.

    This chart shows the number of JDs awarded each academic year from 1980-1981 to 2007-2008. In that time frame – of 28 years – a cumulative total of 1,083,231 men and women have received a law degree from an ABA-accredited law school. Just in the last five academic years combined, ABA-accredited law schools have awarded a total of 213,685 law degrees. Now, do you see why there are no jobs for recent lawyers?

    And yet, you see shills like James Leipold of NALP shove these facts under the rug. This is why you can bank on the NALP reporting that 80-85 percent of the Class of 2010 as employed within 9 months of graduation. The schools simply pass on their SELF-REPORTED figures to the ABA and NALP – which accept these statistics as gospel. Lemmings see these numbers, and figure that they are making a wise investment.

    Would you say the law school industry has your best interests at heart?

  47. middle class conMay 3, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    "In sum, I wouldn't say law school is a scam but rather a horrible investment (think penny stock or junk bonds)."

    It's worse than that.

    People know better to invest in those things these days thanks to the market crash of the 1920s. Joe Kennedy is famed for saying he knew it was time to get out of the market when his shoeshine boy was giving him stock tips.

    Guess what? It's time to get out of law school when the shoeshine boy is passing the bar exam.

    It is CRIMINAL to knowingly misrepresent investment information that leads to financial loss. Why? Because it's devastating. Some people can't take it. They lose their savings, relationships, get depressed, and even kill themselves. How sad is it when Subprime JD is telling everyone to leave the country to escape student loan debt?

    Cut the caveat emptor shit. Higher institutions of learning should be held to a fiduciary duty to prospective students. If anything, why do we protect everyone else in this country from stupidity in decision/investment-making except law students?

    Leave the country Subprime? I'd rather stay here, bitch and moan, taking it right up the ass from Sallie Mae. I do agree, however, that nobody else except those who have been in, on, near or around a law school will ever care.

    But I disagree that "everybody hates lawyers." The middle class still believes that law is a prestigious and noble profession. Unless somebody actually knows a lawyer in the family (who's been honest with them), after a few wisecrack lawyer jokes, your family will "ooh" and "aah" about your law degree.

    Nobody in this country (myself included) has the balls or the public-pull to get out there and tell everybody that the legal profession is an absolute joke. The fact that doctors and lawyers are grouped together in the same breath is a joke. The idea that everyone who goes to law school makes six figures is a joke. The irony is that many, many, people in this here United States of America, still have some convoluted de Tocqueville notion of the lawyer as a modern-day aristocrat.

    Spare me.

  48. The Air Force was so swamped with JAG applications that they didn't even bother to show up at a legal job fair. Even the army (where they do strap guns on their attorneys and send them in the fields of Iraq) had so many applications that they had a back log.

    I didn't even get an interview for a legal aid position in a small-to-medium sized market that was about 100 miles away from a major metropolitan area.

    Why are these entities so swamped with applications?

    Because even experienced attorneys can't survive running their own practice. If their clients aren't faring economically, the first bills to go are unsecured debt held by parties with relatively little leverage in demanding payment. Yes, so pay the credit card bill or risk having your interest rate jump to 29% and have your credit score ruined, or forego paying the attorney who is going to do everything they can to avoid suing or turning the bill over to a collection agency out of fear that the client is going to file a grievance against them?

    If the client has defaulted on their mortgage, there is a good chance that they've declared bankruptcy as well, and attorney's fees that aren't related to the bankruptcy filing are dischargeable.

  49. For all you smarty pants kids who think you are better than nando...I don't think you understand. I went to a school in the top 15, graduated in the middle of my class, and am graduating - unemployed - in just over a week. Yes I worked last summer. No I didn't get a job out of it, and not for lack of hard and kick-ass work, but because they couldn't afford to extend us interns those precious job offers. I've been working hard since then, networking, applying, calling, whatever, and I am not hearing back for shit. It's not just that nobody is hiring third tier law grads. NOBODY IS HIRING LAW GRADS AT ALL. I can't tell you the number of times people outside of the legal profession (and even inside it, for that matter) have said to me, "oh, but you went to such and such school, you'll be fine". Oh really, will I? Tell that to the banks that come after me for the $200k in loans I can't pay back. Maybe it will turn around for some or all of us, but honestly, only the best of the best and the very lucky or connected are getting hired right now. The jobs just don't exist. And by the time they do, there will be 100,000 naive, fresher students to compete with, and we will have to answer the question "what have you been doing the past 2 years?" At the moment, my reply may very well be...nothing.

    You've been warned.

  50. Definitely will be linking to this one!

  51. The problem with the law school industry (yes I call anything that rakes in $3 billion a year an industry) is that the consumer (i.e., law student) is purchasing a good (legal "education") mostly on credit (student loans). Since the consumer has a 3 year deferment (interest will still accrue during those 3 years), there is no immediate feeling of the pressure of having to pay back that loan until you are 6 months out of school. During those 3 years in school you may be sheltered from "real life" but in reality you are putting yourself in a deeper hole when reality smacks you in the face once you graduate. The dream of being a "successful" lawyer or the impression that this industry carries "prestige" is dead. I don't blame other industries for passing on hiring law graduates; after all, you have to be a moron to go to law school these days. Oh, and as a reminder, unlike most consumers that buy things on impulse, your debt won't be dischargeable in bankruptcy. Want to file bankruptcy and take a stab at discharging your student loans via the extreme hardship exception? You'll have a better chance of convincing the court you are Napoleon.

    On a last note, I would say to the Class of 2010 and thereafter: You are screwed, but if you were smart, you would already know that.

  52. @anonymous 11:40

    Thanks for that pointless, if gleeful, comment. It's people like you that make me happy the taxpayers, in some way, will be bailing out private companies once again for my failure to be able to pay back my loans.

  53. Sorry but I think any woman who dumps someone over income is a 1st class, gold-digging whore. How many people your age are going to be without debt, hmmm? Either rub yourself on an old man & be a trophy (embrace the gold-digging) or get off your duff & take care of YOURSELF w/out ANYONE'S help. I say this as a strong, independent woman who has done #2.

    Lack of money is certainly a problem but talk to me about it when you're looking at day to day survival instead of not being able to afford designer labels or getting creditor phone calls.

    I have a very different viewpoint since I came from very low means to get where I am. Remember, there's no debtor's prison in this country & they can't get what you don't have. If everyone is poor, these loan companies are out of luck aren't they? If you had the $ to pay them, you'd pay wouldn't you?

    So I see some viable solutions as organizing a mass uprising, getting the proper connections to make the fight visible or recruiting someone so loud & abrasive you can't ignore them to pick up your cause & perhaps taking out some of these people instead of committing suicide.

    Committing suicide just lets the enemy win; you think they give a crap about that? I want to see some violent uprisings & I'm waiting for the BigLaw firms to fall as well.

  54. Pointless? Hardly. If this discussion and blog makes one person re-evaluate his motives for going to law school and keeps one person from going to a TTT for the wrong reasons (are there right reasons?) then it has made its point. The real victory will come when the 3Ts and 4Ts do not fill their available seats for 1Ls.

  55. There will never be a day when any school will be unable to fill available seats. This is merely wishful thinking.

    Quite frankly, every one person you "save" will be replaced by another person who wouldn't have made the cut. LSAT cutoffs will go lower. Whatever. The schools don't care. They'll probably just spin it as them being gracious and extending opportunity to those who may be brilliant but were sick on LSAT day or some such thing.

    In fact, you are quite possibly leading to the ruin of people of more modest means (if you allow for the assertion that people of more modest means get lower LSAT scores) because they would normally not be allowed into law school but for you "saving" some people who would've been ahead of them.

  56. Laid off former Big Law associate associate here, reading comments as I wait to inspect fuel pumps at a trucking company for $32,000 a year. Run, run, run from this sinking profession.

  57. Dear Bootstrap Bill:

    You wrote:

    "I am out there faxing, mass mailing and emailing cover letters, resumes, and professional references to 100s of employers. I have done so since June of last year."

    I applaud you for your commitment. However, I question whether you will feel the same way or be as committed, let's say, 8 years after you graduate.

    I graduated in 2002. Since then, I failed the Bar exam numerous times, was only able to find about 7-8 temporary projects after having interviewed with maybe 40 employment agencies, and cannot describe how demoralized I am. In those 8 years, I've worked (in total) around 4 years. I've made little progress in paying my loans.

    Perhaps you still believe that law school was a good idea and that you can forge your own way with enough effort. You might still think that law school was always a good investment, and EVEN IF you don't seek to practice law or don't pass the Bar, you can always turn to paralegal work (wrong), or that networking actually accomplishes something (wrong), or that lawyers and judges might actually sympathize with your plight or inexperience (wrong), or that you can take a Juris Doctor to any employer and they'll quickly hire you (wrong), or that your law school cares about you (wrong).

    I wish this blog existed in 1999, before “blog” entered the lexicon. I've taken exception to the harsh images and anger at Third Tier Reality, but sometimes reality IS harsh and anger justified. It's possible even having read Third Tier Reality, I might have forged ahead anyway with 3 years of toil and alienation, convinced that my above-average intelligence and work ethic would be enough to make me a success. Sadly, they were not. For some, it might appear that I have given up on a dream, but it's not quite "giving up" when you lost any desire or realistic hope to join a profession loaded with malcontents lacking in any empathy.

    I now work part time at the same job I had back in 2000 during law school making about 1/3rd of the hourly wage I should be making. Some days, I get depressed and feel as if I’m moving backwards, but all things considered, I am happier now than I have been in a long time.

  58. Nando:
    Doesn't this say it all?
    "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."

    See the link:

  59. Great blog. Long time coming. This issue has been a problem since 1995 when I graduated law school and could not find a job, got screwed by solos who wanted to hire me only to basically not pay me or treat me like crap. Your experiences have been happening to graduating classes for the past 20 years. Are there too many lawyers? Maybe. But there are too many of everything because we simply let anyone in to this country and do not control our borders.

    I graduated from a 4th tier law school second to last in my class. I could not get a job and bartended and lied about my education just to get a non legal job.

    At some point a legal job will come along and you will make next to nothing. IF you want to be a lawyer take it. You have to learn how to practice law somewhere and it may require working for a few jerks/bad firms who just want to use you. Law school does not teach you how to deal with that.

    Assuming you go to a crappy law school like I did and are not from some top school made up of blue blood connections, if you are not willing to work cheap after graduation with the plan to open up your own office a few years later, dont go to law school. The recruiters are not calling you today and wont tommorrow.

    After learning Plaintiffs PI and Comp, I opened up my own office and now make very good money. Unless you are the big dog well known guy, I do not see how you make real money as a lawyer unless you do PI for Plaintiffs. You have to chase ambulances, period. It took time for me to even get a job paying 12 bucks an hour 15 years ago and I was very angry and depressed after graduation and if I knew then what those graduating now face, I probably never go to law school.

    Ask yourself why you went to school. You went to get a degree that can get you rich. Law practice/education is an investment. Its like buying a Subway franchise or opening a Pizza place. Its a risk, and most fail, but you do it to get rich. Obviously its a bigger rich because loans cant go away in a Bankruptcy like a business loan, but what else can you do. If you go to law school for prestige you are an idiot.

    will continue...

  60. Anyone can get a job out of college making 25-40k a year. Maybe you get laid off or maybe you work there 20 years and get 2% raise each year. You might be happy with that in your 20s, but in your 40s when all the rich dudes have nice BMWs, beach houses and hot wives, while your fat wife and kids live with you in a tiny house, you start hating the rich guy who went to law school.

    I am guessing most law school types are driven. The best lawyers are not your top tier school kids, but they are the ones with street smarts and people skills. When I interview people for jobs, I dont care where they went to school. You sixe them up as people and their ability to work hard. Top tier school kids are lazy and self entitled and want to play LA Law. That is not the real world. If you can only work with educated white people on a day to day basis, go sell insurance. If you can talk to anyone and will work hard, you have a chance. Still no guarantees.

    Legal education is overpriced and the education is a joke. The professors are the ones who did not want to take the risk of practicing or failed when they tried. All you are paying for is a piece of paper so you can sit through the bar exam. You dont learn until you practice. The problem is if you make it any easier and cheaper to get a degree, then there will be even more idiots graduating and flooding the market. I dont have the answer, but for those of you graduating, get used to dealing with a lot of assholes who wont help you. We lawyers are solitary types or if lucky maybe you can get an equally hard working partner.

    Graduate and either take a low paying Plaintiffs PI job or open up your own, get on the court appointed list, and slowly build your practice and stick to what makes money. Do pro bono and help people but dont keep doing work on cases on a day to day basis that keeps you poor. All it takes is a couple of big cases, mostly coming in through referrals, and you can begin getting rich. I did it and I went to a 4th tier law school and did poorly in school because I knew my grades did not matter. I just wanted to graduate. At age 40, I like where I am at money wise etc.

    Welcome to the real world people. It sucks and most of us fail, but you did what you did because you wanted a chance at being rich and you saw this as the best way to do it. If you feel like you made a mistake, go get another loan and open up a Subway and hope you make it. Otherwise go get that non legal job out of college and be even angrier at age 40 when you are broke or barely paying your bills.

    Good luck everyone.

  61. I recently read an article that reported some law school deans are encouraging the Class of 2010 to enroll in the LLM if no job is lined up after graduation. These lying deans are telling hapless and unemployed graduates to "ride out" the recession for another year by obtaining an equally worthless LLM degree. LLM degrees on average will cost $50K. The deans are saying that an LLM will provide a competitive edge when the recession is over. Yeah, I can see it now. LLM=I want my models and bottles. I can see the LLM enrollment numbers go through the roof this Fall.

  62. @ 6:59

    That statement from James Leipold says it all. If this is the case, then why even ask law schools to send in SELF-REPORTED, unverified employment and starting salary statistics – in the first place? *The most likely reason* is to entice more lemmings to take the plunge, i.e. go to law school.

    Schools prominently feature their placement and salary figures on their page for Prospective Students. They don’t post these figures to make the graduating class feel better about their current situation. They want to attract more applicants, so that they can get more paying customers to walk through their doors.

    James Leipold is a shill for the industry. His organization – on behalf of the law school industry - seeks to gain the confidence of desperate college graduates. This is disgraceful conduct!! If he had any integrity or concern for the average law graduate, he would refuse to play along in this scheme. I hope NALP pays him well. Then again, he is simply playing his part to get more students in America’s law schools, right?

    Expecting honesty from the law schools is analogous to asking convicts to honestly tell you if they have committed any more crimes – and taking them at their word, i.e. with no attempt to verify their claims.

    Hopefully, prospective law students see this entry and read the comments. We have comments from former Biglaw associates who are now unemployed; T14 grads who cannot find work; and many TTT and TTTT JDs who never had a shot in this game. We have also seen successful, older attorneys comment on this post, explaining that they were fortunate and would not go to law school today – in light of the state of the industry. Some of those who wisely decided against going to law school have also added to the discussion.

    Lemmings, do you think that you are somehow better, brighter or harder-working than NYU grads; those in the top 10% of their class and on law review; practicing attorneys, including prosecutors, who KNOW the realities of the bleak lawyer job market; law review students at second tier schools; people on the editorial board of their school’s law review; partners in mid-law who care primarily about whether you can bring a serious book of business with you; and unemployed students soon to be graduating in the middle of their class at a top 15 school?!?!?

    Are you going to believe the manipulated and distorted figures put out by the self-serving law schools? They do not need to submit their placement and salary figures to an independent audit. Deans have ADMITTED to “errors” in reporting high salaries. Law schools have ADMITTED to “errors” in reporting judicial clerkship info to the NALP. And now, we have the NALP telling Elie Mystal and 11 others, “If we said to law schools you have to report a significant percentage of your graduates as ‘unemployed,’ they wouldn’t do it."

    You have seen the scam bloggers attack the numbers, break them down, and expose the racket – backed by the facts. All you have seen in return are ad hominem attacks, illogical “arguments” and petulance.

  63. I graduated a few years ago and I still don't understand what the hell NALP is supposed to be.

    As best I can figure, the ABA decided to outsource some of their fraudulent activities to this organization.

  64. See this article in today's WSJ. How much more information/validation is needed before people realize that law school is a terrible option?

  65. In regards to taking the low paying job....

    First of all, the strata of salary has disappeared. Which shade of $40,000 per year do you want, sir/ma'am? Do I take the $40,000 job or the $45,000 per year job?

    (The $60,000 per year jobs now belong to deferred associates because that is half of their salary).

    The whole thing reminds me of the comedian (I think it was a Saturday Night Live news update, but who cares?) who said after the U.S. Army rolled over Iraq in four days in Desert Storm back in 1991, "The United States has the largest army in the world while Iraq has the 5th largest army. Apparently, there is a huge drop off between 1st and 5th place."

    I'm not saying that I wouldn't take the $45,000 a year job or even the $40,000 per year job. I even applied for a $35,000 per year job. After applying to enough jobs, you begin to see a pattern in salaries and you already can guess that something that pays $70,000 a year is for an attorney with a minimum of 5 years experience.

    Some might suggest opening up your own firm, but from what I've seen, you're throwing good money after bad. We don't do work like sell tacos where we hand somebody their taco and they hand us $4 and its ours forever. Ours is a business of speculation. Maybe the PI case will settle in two months. Maybe it will be sitting there two years from now. Maybe the client will decide to drop the case. Maybe they will go to another firm. Maybe it will go to trial and you will lose. Maybe your winning verdict will be appealed and it will be sitting on an appellate justice's desk for a year. I personally don't have the resources to sit around and wait for the magical payout date three years from now. Whatever I eventually realize will be eaten up in the balloon of interest that is being tacked onto my student loans for the months that I necessarily had to defer for not having a source of income.

    Considering that there are wide-spread reports from established attorneys of how much the market blows FOR THEM (aka, business falling off over the past couple of years), I don't even begin to see how it is wise to open your own firm.

  66. My secretary asked for a raise this week and I told her that if she was unhappy with what I paid her ($15/hr), I could hire an attorney for $12/hr and no benefits (operative word is "could" as I would never hire a lawyer to be my secretary or paralegal). She didn't believe me so I directed her to this site and others and today she gave me a "Thank You" card with a heartwarming note about how grateful she is to be working for me. She also apologized for asking for a raise and commented that in this economy, she is lucky to be earning a decent wage. And here I used to think lawyers were useless. The plight of the modern day lawyer just saved me a raise. Thank you Third Tier Reality.

  67. Drake College of Business.

    Name purely a coincidence. Article pretty funny.

  68. all the points about law school being a waste are valid, but for all the negativity, most recently at 9:24, I only ask what kind of moron are you. You invested 100k plus for three years of school and see it all in only negative terms. Assuming you are right, and you may well be, where were you three years ago when you made the investment? Did you do your homework. This blog is great, but these stories are not new. If you chose to do it, you have to go through with it and do more. You have crossed the Rubickon.

    Ultimately its blogs like these that help people make a decision and in the information age, these law schools need to be called out for their lies and I commend the blog creator, but as bad as it is, we all went to our shitty schools because we hoped we could parly it into real money over a lifetime. Really smart people dont want the cookie cutter job with little or no raise and a salary that barely affords you to not live in the ghetto.

    This world sucks but graduating law school does not end the risk. Still more work to do.

  69. I feel for you. I was you. There are others like you. They are not all lawyers but they are all student debtors.

    Read our stories.

  70. The same generation which self-righteously derided its elders for obsessing too much over money now charges 22 year olds $40,000 annually for the privilege of attending its universities.

  71. ARREST the dean and associate dean of the SETON HALL LAW TOILET NOW!!!!!!!

  72. This comment has been removed by the author.

  73. EVERYONE on this board needs their meds. I live in a mid-sized city and know recent, numerous T4 law grads (who are not especially "well-connected" - whatever that means). Yes, they all have very decent attorney positions.

  74. 1:10 am = third tier toilet administrator or professor. 'Very Decent' attorney positions paying $34,000 will not be enough for one to pay off $114,000 in student loan debt. I don't know how you would go about dealing with brain atrophy, but you should try to figure something out.

  75. 5:52 am, reply from 1:10am = "Very decent": The six lawyers I know work at small to mid sized firms and make around $65-70k/yr. Yes, some jobs you do have to start at $50k the first year. But so do first year resident doctors. Obviously, as an attorney (or doctor), your salary increases with experience and expertise.

    Also, the best objective employment data is at Not from your law school.

  76. (continued from 12:53pm) Sorry to post a link, but this is attorney data from Is competition keen? Yes. But, welcome to life. Anyway, it doesn't matter if you are applying to be a forklift driver - you will have competition. Surprise...this is the real world.

    Also, if an attorney can't solve his own problems, then he probably doesn't have any business trying to solve anyone else's.

  77. "Is competition keen? Yes. But, welcome to life. Anyway, it doesn't matter if you are applying to be a forklift driver - you will have competition. Surprise...this is the real world."

    Who exactly are you in a debate with here? I don't remember anyone arguing that law should be a competition-free profession.

    "...if an attorney can't solve his own problems, then he probably doesn't have any business trying to solve anyone else's."

    The problem is, there is not nearly enough paying work to support the current (and rapidly growing) population of lawyers in this country. How should an individual lawyer "solve" this problem? Do you have any substantive ideas to offer, or just meaningless platitudes of the "welcome-to-the-real-world" variety?

  78. Law schools should only admit as many students as there are positions available at the NLJ 250 firms. You'll have far far less than 45,000 graduates that way.

  79. At least a forklift operator is not overqualified and in the hole by six figures.

  80. "Do you have any substantive ideas to offer, or just meaningless platitudes of the "welcome-to-the-real-world" variety?"

    I'm just a T2 3L, so here's my 2 cents: Law is increasingly becoming specialized, so develop several unique skills or focus areas that few others have. This will help market yourself. Also, firms want loyalty and want to ensure you will be there in 10-15 years, so "carpet-bombing" the field with 700 resumes is worthless. Firms know whats up. They want a significant connection between you and them. Find ways to give them that assurance.

    Also, there are droves of "general lawyers." Therefore, another general lawyer is very unlikely to stand out to an employer, no matter where you are from.

    And sorry for this "real world" advice again, (brutal I know), but NO degree is EVER a license to print money. This goes for law too. Everyone knows, or should know this principle when entering any school. At least, unlike many other high-level professions (history, geology, botany) there is at least a significant demand for our industry.

    Lastly, think of it this way: National unemployment is 10% right now. If you have a 4 year degree, that rate drops to 5% average. Lawyers are under 5%. As I said before, tells the tale.

  81. I think bootstrap's post was satire.

  82. @ May 10, 10:10,

    No one said that a degree should be a license to print money. Try building a straw man somewhere else. You sound exactly like a shill for the industry. (Your mother must be very proud.)

    It is morally reprehensible to produce FAR TOO MANY law grads than there are available attorney, or law-related, positions; true professions seek to protect their students’ investment in time, money and energy. It is disgusting for these “institutions of higher education” to charge TTT students $35K in annual tuition, when they KNOW that many of these students will have dismal job prospects upon graduation. It is deplorable that these schools manipulate and distort their employment placement and salary date – for the purpose of enticing more prospective law students to take the plunge. And it is shameful that law school deans and administrators can clear $500,000 a year, by fleecing the taxpayers and sentencing legions of law students to a lifetime of non-dischargeable debt and low pay.

    So, what else has your office of career development told you? You do such a fine job of parroting their words! Let me guess: have your "professors" also told you that the job market will recover? What is their basis for this position - other than the fact that their cushy jobs rely on rosy forecasts? If your profs can predict the future, ask them who will win the World Series this year.

    We now arrive at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Scroll down to Projections Data.

    BLS notes that there were about 759,200 active lawyers in the U.S. in 2008. The Department of Labor then projects the number of practicing lawyers to be about 857,700 in 2018, for an increase of 13 percent between 2008 and 2018. The BLS – which you referred the readers of this blog to, for the purpose of “proving” your point – projects an increase in the number of attorneys of 98,500 over the course of ten years!

    In the last five academic years combined, we can see that ABA-accredited law schools have awarded a total of 213,685 law degrees. In the last 10 years, ABA-approved law schools pumped out a cumulative total of 406,306 JDs. Would it be fair to say that the law schools will pump out a similar number of JDs over the course of 2008 to 2018? In fact, ABA-accredited law schools have pumped out about 43,000 graduates each of the last 4 school years listed, i.e. 2004-2005 through 2007-2008.

    Let’s take into account BLS projections of 98,500 additional attorneys for the years 2008-2018. It would seem that we would need close to 331,500 practicing attorneys to retire or pass away in that same time frame, i.e. 430,000-98,500, in order for those recent JDs to find work as attorneys. Do you have some actual proof – not your beliefs – that there will be a large cohort of retiring attorneys in the next ten years? Many attorneys practice well into their 70s or 80s. Is that your game plan, i.e. wait for older attorneys to pass away?

    Simply put, the law schools are producing too many lawyers. Pretty much everyone with the capacity to be objective, can clearly see this basic fact. Of course, it is much harder for those who cannot admit that they made a bad “career choice” to see the reality of the situation.

    Maybe you should enter the real world BEFORE offering "brutal real world advice."

  83. @ 1:41 am
    I'd suggest that you have misinterpreted the BLS data, even though your numbers look correct.

    First, the reason the BLS shows 98,500 attorneys as added (from 2008-2018) is not because they are being "produced," but because the positions will be added through "need." (Although, I admit solos tend to muddy the word "need.") Therefore, the additions are not simply frivilous as you suggest. We have a "cause and effect" disagreement on the BLS data.

    Second, for every 43,000 lawyers added, a very substantial percentage of that number also experiences attrition. This attrition rate, whatever it is, has probably stayed constant over the past several decades. The law wasn't created yesterday and even as we speak now, there are 80-year-old lawyers ready to retire tomorrow. Although there IS a positive gain, it is likely justified through our long-term national growth (from population, business, etc.).

    Third, the ratio of lawyers to population has always held around 1:350 (from roughly calculating the BLS numbers). This ratio probably wont change all that much in the next decade, especially given steady U.S. population growth. We are in a recession now, which makes EMPLOYMENT more challenging, but regardless, the lawyer to population ratio is not (and will not be) appreciably different than the historical ratio.

    Lastly, the law is too diverse to say there are "no jobs for lawyers." Really, the law is all about the real world as much as its about the law. I've interned at places where the "general counsel" was just simply the agency "problem solver" and not necessarily all things legal either. My point is that a "law job" is not always a "law job" and people should think beyond the traditional law firm when considering employment options.

  84. If there was such an oversupply of lawyers as some of the bloggers on here claim, then median wages would be around $35k, and not $110k/$125k median/mean wages as BLS indicates. And that's factoring in public service positions.

    Data from:

  85. Right -- everyone involved in the legal industry, including the ABA's own spokespeople and law school professors, is full of it, and your airy-fairy fantasies ("the law is diverse!" and "the attrition rate, whatever it is") are all right, and the fact that Harvard LS grads are having a hard time getting jobs, and the fact that law firms are now offering $10 an hour to attorneys with 2-3 years' experience, and the fact that LS deans and NALP have all but admitted on several occasions that their employment data is fudged...this is all a product of the blogger's imagination. You, however, as a self-described T2 3L, have your finger on the true pulse of the legal profession. You're different! You work hard, you had internships, you're good at networking! You'll think outside the box, and in any case, the law isn't just the law and a J.D. is valued by every employer! Did I get everything?

    Ye gods and little fishes, the comedown (that "brutal reality" you're so fond of) is going to be way, way ugly.

  86. note to self: go to a top 10 and work hard.

  87. @8:36am: Yes, the ABA, the legal profession, and law professors are probably telling the truth. However, they are only responding to CURRENT economic conditions, which will pass. But, the BLS also tells the truth. I know that doesn't quite help us in the current economic climate, but my point is that nothing has fundamentally shifted within the profession from the past several decades. Things are still largely the same.

    Second, even doctors get paid low amounts right out of med school, and get low pay two years thereafter during residency. The reality is that law schools probably DO need a residency program, like the med schools. There is currently a push underway to implement such a program in the future, which I agree with 100%.
    Sir, you're absolutely right that attorney starting salaries suck, but the first couple years truly are like "residency" years for law students.

    And as far as there being no attorney positions? ...Just ask the 780,000 attorneys if there are any attorney positions. Simply put, I have yet to see any homeless attorneys in my lifetime. With national unemployment = 10%, unemployment for 4-year-degree holders = 5%, it is a stretch to say that unemployment for J.D. holders = 50%. This is simply not true.

    (Also, to clarify, I am a T2 which I mean as 2nd Tier, and not to be confused with "top 2." Maybe I typed this wrong, I dunno.)

  88. @ Anon from 11:40AM

    Based on your logical reasoning, I can see how you landed in the 2nd tier. No one said that 50% of JD holders are unemployed. Please refer to the post which speaks of this 50% unemployment rate for JD grads. The problem lies in the fact that JD grads cannot land LEGAL JOBS.

  89. Even worse logic: When you're trying to make a point and the opposing view hones in on a technically incorrect detail (the 50% stat was obviously intentionally exaggerated to demonstrate a concept), to the detriment of missing the overall point. Then, the opposition substitutes the substance of their own argument with baseless and classless (no wonder you're unemployed) attacks.

    My previous point was that J.D. holders are not suffering anywhere near 10% unemployment in comparison to the national average, legal job or not - and there are many jobs which are quasi-legal and hard to classify.

    The bottom line is that we are going to have to do something better than the rest of the competition to succeed. This goes for almost any industry: Restaurants, automakers, carpenters, etc. Regardless, I think it is misplaced to blame the entity providing the training to you or anyone else. I'm not purposefully defending the schools, but I just objectively think the blame is misplaced. The schools are simply responding to public demand for education.

    Again, keep in mind that this is what a recession looks like. Long-term, attorneys will be fine. Recessions suck big time, but whose fault is the recession? You're guess is as good as mine.

  90. Even worse logic: When you're trying to make a point and the opposing view hones in on a technically incorrect detail (the 50% stat was obviously intentionally exaggerated to demonstrate a concept), to the detriment of missing the overall point. Then, the opposition substitutes the substance of their own argument with baseless and classless (no wonder you're unemployed) attacks.

    My previous point was that J.D. holders are not suffering anywhere near 10% unemployment in comparison to the national average, legal job or not - and there are many jobs which are quasi-legal and hard to classify.

    The bottom line is that we are going to have to do something better than the rest of the competition to succeed. This goes for almost any industry: Restaurants, automakers, carpenters, etc. Regardless, I think it is misplaced to blame the entity providing the training to you or anyone else. I'm not purposefully defending the schools, but I just objectively think the blame is misplaced. The schools are simply responding to public demand for education.

    Again, keep in mind that this is what a recession looks like. Long-term, attorneys will be fine. Recessions suck big time, but whose fault is the recession? You're guess is as good as mine.

  91. The author of this blog should eliminate posts from trolls. The commentary is never constructive or adds to the argument. Always the same drivel.

  92. I've tried the get out and never look back approach. It will not work unless colleagues in your new field look beyond the JD tattoo you try so hard to keep from public view. In the eyes of the general public, including sophisticated business people, the JD stigma will haunt you no matter where in the work word you may roam. Its ink is so indelible that it enters your DNA. Try as you might, you can't run, you an't hide and you can't make the " Hey bud, you plan to hire that guy? Don't you know he used to be a lawyer" stop. Best bet is to walk away as early as possible before the ink completely dries. And I know it's not easy to do. I've tried it too many times.

    Go solo? You mean go one foot in the courtroom and one on the unemployment line? No matter how far I tried to run, I could only keep sane and have a bit of dignity by developing a very successful ADR practice in a very complex area of law. But cases are often hard to come by and you have to compete with retired members of the bench who often deride active ADR attorneys as the dregs of the profession. What is most ironic is that I'm only able to work as a lawyer because of an advanced degree and business experience in a related substantive area. It's not fun being overaged, overeducated and overqualified--especially with that indelible ink buried deep under your skin. On the basis of the foregoing, we sent our kids to medical and dental schools.At least they typically don't have to chase clients to get paid!

  93. I had a friend, who had a relative deep in student loan debt. I wrote the following about how the relative must have felt. Dark it may be, but hopefully it will wake up anyoine thinking of taking on debt for college, let alone going to law school.

    Student Loans- The Modern Day Scarlet Letter

    I did what everyone says to do in order to have an opportunity at success and a “good” life, but all it has brought me is pain and misery. Get an education they say, I did that. This will enable you to succeed, they say. Not in my case. All I have to show for my “education” are layoffs, unemployment and empty promises.

    Student loans are to help you achieve, I did that. But when life does not go as planned or your dreams are dashed, such assistance to attain those dreams imprisons one to poverty, despair and indentured servitude. Black balled due to bad credit relating to Student Loans one can’t find gainful employment to pay back the loans. Yet like a loan shark or racketeer the “loans” keep growing exponentially while at the same time preventing one from getting back on the track of life, productivity and employment, i.e. living. One becomes jailed in a debtor’s prison that was supposed to not exist in the US. Harassed and threatened by student loan sharks and racketeers, who would be put in jail if they weren’t given sanctuary by the government, life’s purpose slips away, my education empty promises and dreams unfulfilled. Yes, they are a government approved criminal organization preying on those in pursuit of the illusionary American dream; while at the same time enriching the “mob bosses” at the top of the student loan pyramid and discarding the rest of us like yesterday’s newspaper.

    A theology of human belief extorting one to get their “pot of gold” and be damned those destroyed on this path. The true human soul, one of: self-importance, self-service, self-righteousness and callous indifference to others. A caste system where money is all that matters whether it is achieved by immoral means and regardless of the victims’ corpses left in one’s wake.

    No I am not delusional, depressed or any other medical mental mirage. We all have pain and set backs. We are taught to get up wipe the dirt off and continue the fight. But if the deck is stacked against you and the only one’s being enriched by your labor are the student loan sharks and racketeers, it isn’t worth it. They want to keep you an indentured servant or in debtor’s prison; a prison preventing you from achieving some semblance of dignity, of purpose. Why should they care? When their mistakes catch up with them they can go receive a government handout, which enables them to continue to indenture students and keep you in debtor’s prison, even as they stand on your corpse.

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