Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Open Letter to the JD Class of 2013

So, you have sat through your first lecture on Palsgraf and International Shoe. Congratulations. Hopefully, you enjoy reading the Model Penal Code, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, boring casebooks, and other such dreck. Surely, you were told during orientation about how “special” you are – and how you and your classmates will go on to do great things to help people. You were doubtlessly regaled with “war stories” and told that “starting from this day, you need to think of yourselves as lawyers.” Unfortunately, MANY of you will graduate with a law degree, pass the bar exam AND NEVER PRACTICE LAW!!

You see, the JD Class of 2009 had 44,000 graduates – competing for 28,901 jobs requiring a law degree. (Hint: not all of these jobs are attorney positions.)

Now, we will look at the number of law grads from 1980-1981 to 2008-2009 – by adding the 44,000 to the count. In these 29 years, a cumulative total of 1,127,231 law degrees were awarded by ABA-accredited law schools. Yes, ONE MILLION, ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY ONE law degrees have been issued in the last 29 years, in the United States. Do you think there might be a glut of attorneys out there?!?!

Since you are in “full law school mode,” you will likely respond with a variation of the following: “Yes, but those people who failed to land legal jobs didn’t work hard enough and didn’t earn good grades. I, on the other hand, WILL work hard and receive stellar grades. So, I don’t need to worry about such a fate befalling me.”

“Many corporations agree that outsourcing legal work, in some form or another, is here to stay.

“We will continue to go to big firms for the lawyers they have who are experts in subject matter, world-class thought leaders and the best litigators and regulatory lawyers around the world — and we will pay a lot of money for those lawyers,” said Janine Dascenzo, associate general counsel at
General Electric.

What G.E. does not need, though, is the “army of associates around them,” Ms. Dascenzo said. “You don’t need a $500-an-hour associate to do things like document review and basic due diligence,” she said.” [Emphasis mine]

A nest of Biglaw cockroaches, calling itself the ABA Standing Committee on “Ethics and Professional Responsibility” issued ABA “Ethics” Opinion 08-451 in August 2008. This paved the way for U.S. law firms to outsource American legal discovery work to foreign lawyers AND non-lawyers. Biglaw partners are now “pursuing cost-effective strategies,” i.e. they are trimming the fat. These jobs are heading to India!!

“For instance, a different survey conducted by NALP found that between 3,200 and 3,700 graduates with jobs in law firms had their start dates deferred beyond December 1, 2009, with many deferred well into 2010.”

Of course, NALP was nice enough to count these graduates as employed – for the purposes of publishing better employment figures. They don’t want anyone to doubt their decision to attend law school, after all.

Biglaw partners are concerned with maintaining their status and wealth, i.e. profits per partner. Hence, they are cutting back on hiring summer associates. Summer 2010 hiring was down 44 percent from Summer 2009. But, YOU will be different, right?!?!

“Some of the biggest cuts came from the top of The A-List. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom took the most severe hit in gross numbers, going from 223 summer associates in 2009 to 79 this year. Cravath, Swaine & Moore's summer class shrank by 81 percent to just 23 summer associates, the biggest percentage decrease in the survey -- except for Ballard Spahr, which cut its summer program entirely. Skadden and Cravath declined to comment, and Ballard Spahr did not return calls for comment.”

“As of April 8, 2010, over 14,696 people have been laid off by major law firms (5,772 lawyers / 8,924 staff) since January 1, 2008.[Emphasis mine]

Now, take a look at the average indebtedness for those Class of 2009 JDs who incurred student debt for law school. Look at the percentage of students from this class who took on such NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt. Remember, tuition will continue to climb each year that you are in law school.

And, now the ABA will consider accrediting overseas law schools. Yes, this will be a great development, as we clearly do not have enough lawyers in this country, right?!?!

In closing, are you anxious about your decision to attend law school now?! If you take nothing else from this blog entry, remember this: if you are not from a wealthy family AND are not strongly connected to the legal industry, DROP OUT OF LAW SCHOOL AFTER FIRST SEMESTER IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE TOP 5%-10% OF YOUR CLASS. With that in mind, have fun reading about unilateral contracts, state long-arm statutes, negligence, mens rea, and the Rule Against Perpetuities.


  1. Love the aggressive writing style and the link to a kick in the balls was a nice touch. Brutal analysis, man. These dupes have no idea of the buzzsaw they are walking into.

  2. This is glorious.

    We (people who have already been duped by the gross fraud) really should form our own anti-ABA union - like a real pain-in-the-ass union that marches with signs and stuff - and spend our unemployed time protesting outsourcing and only supporting judges who refuse to let outsourced legal work in their courtrooms. Also we could accredit only non-toilet law schools. The establishment can suck it.

    (I'm only partially joking).

  3. Today on the PATH train to Newark, I overheard a couple of first year law students (Settton Hall from the douchey Pirates logo on a tote bag) speculate that the "worst of the recession is over" and that by "2013 everything will be sunshine and lolipops." If these kids were duped into attending law school when their job prospects are so poor, what makes them think anyone would hire them to represent their legal interests?

  4. Nando-

    Great post.

    To those law students that are reading this and thinking "they are just bitter they graduated at the worst time," know this:

    1) We gain nothing personally by informing you of these risks. Nando is trying to give you information that we all wish we had when we embarked on this journey. It really is that simple.

    2) It has been said before and will be said again and again and again. This is NOT a "great recession" problem. The recession just blew the top off law's big bad secret. Know the risk. Be grateful you are being informed in ways we were not.

  5. Yeah, I would have to say that's pretty much realistic advice.

    The main thing for the kids: getting past that "I'll tough it out" phase, aka, the "I don't want to be a quitter" phase following a non-stellar First Year grading cycle. That's the key, kids--I cannot possibly emphasize that enough. GET THE HELL OUT, unless you are connected/independently wealthy, if first year grades are not super. Really. Truly. You get no points, credit, empathy, admiration respect, whatever, from legal employers for good old-fashioned "stick-to-it-iveness". That's all good-natured bullshit handed down from your folks (bless them, they mean well) but which has not applied in law, if at all, in a hell of a long time.

    And, lest we forget, there is no degree program that I can think of with the negatives that come with the JD. Non-legal employers hate JD applicants applying for non-legal jobs. With a JD strapped to your back, you will have one HELL of a time finding non-legal employment.

  6. Love it, Nando. Well said. i hope it doesn't fall on deaf ears.

  7. For any prospective law student, spend two weeks in any major courthouse in this country and witness the demeanor of the attorneys. Are they content? A few are, but the vast majority accurately exude their anguish and despair. I am saying this because even if you get past all of the hurdles that these previous commenters have stated, you have the stark reality of the profession. There are joys of being a lawyer; the satisfaction at being able to swiftly maneuver the procedural and substantive law, and the sycophantic praise from your fellow lawyers. Yet, there is a legitimate reason that lawyers have some of the highest rate of substance abuse, depression and self loathing of any profession. It is a brutal game. If you want it, go for it and do your best, and you may have found your calling, but for most, it is far from that.

  8. Hey Kiddies: I realize you've worked very hard to take the LSAT, apply to law school, apply for financial aid, and uproot you (and your family). I also realize you don't want to listen to any of us on this blog after you've jumped through so many hoops to finally sit your ass in some comfy law school chair for the next three year, but I'm here to tell you, unless you have wealthy parents or politically connected, and do well in law school, you're basically SOL. How do I know this? I'm living the dream (err nightmare). Patent attorney with multiple graduate degrees, rising TTT doing contract attorney work for $35/hr (that's actually pretty good these days) with no benefits, no respect, no paid vacation and no room for advancement. Thank you sir ... may I have some more of your crap? Get used to saying that line, because that's what awaits you. And maybe you thought in the worst case scenario you could go off on your own as a solo. I've done it briefly - out of necessity mainly, it didn't work out. See Kiddies, you need money above and beyond your monthly payment to Smellie Mae to launch a firm with any sort of probablity of success. Good luck! I hope your sense of entitlement/respect/worth remains intact once you are out in the real world of law practice.

  9. I wish the Attorney General's office or some consumer agency would look at this mess.

  10. New jobs aren't opening because attorney's are simply not retiring anymore. In fact, I've even heard that attorney's are postponing their deaths just so they can make a living.

    This website = Great Entertainment.

  11. This site = great entertainment and hard hitting analysis of this shitty legal market. What is sad is that tons more borderline retards will line up to take seats for Class of '14.

  12. It's true that starting salaries for new attorneys aren't so eye-popping, but what are average attorney salaries after five or more years of practice? The "scambloggers" (time-wasters) focus very little attention on this question.

    As an attorney, if you can't clear $200/day on your work, then you are either a retired part-timer, or just plain pathetic.

  13. "You see, the JD Class of 2009 had 44,000 graduates – competing for 28,901 jobs requiring a law degree."

    So, the rest took jobs where a law degree was "preferred" and not "required." Many of these jobs exist and I could rattle off about 10 such job types right off the top of my head.

  14. "Many of these jobs exist and I could rattle off about 10 such job types right off the top of my head."

    No you can't. Nobody, but nobody, in a field other than law, will hire anyone with a JD only for any position other than that as an attorney. Once you have the JD, you have closed the door on anything other than being a lawyer.

    Good luck getting anyone to hire you once they know you have a law degree, because most people think that you're a risk and not worth the trouble.

  15. @8:32 - Mr./Ms. "Attorney, Esq.," so what the hell are you doing wasting your precious, high and mighty "attorney" time on these blogs? Not clearing $200/day on your "work" might be pathetic, but I'd rather dig ditches than do your kind of shitwork. Kiss my presige-laden ass!

  16. Chris, maybe you should bother to click on the NALP Summary Chart for the Class of 2009.

    To wit:

    “So, the rest took jobs where a law degree was "preferred" and not "required." Many of these jobs exist and I could rattle off about 10 such job types right off the top of my head.”

    There were 44,000 graduates for the JD Class of 2009. Fully, 42,330 responded to the employment survey. Now, go to Employment Status Known. (See where that is located, Chris?) Apparently, 40,833 reported their employment status.

    Bar passage required: 28,901
    JD Preferred: 3,751
    Other Professional: 2,206
    Non-professional: 722
    Employed – Job Type Unknown: 466
    Pursuing Degree FT: 1,247 (apparently, the JD didn’t work out for these people)
    Unemployed Seeking: 2,430
    Unemployed-Not Seeking: 1,110

    Taking these figures into account, would you like to qualify or amend your earlier, misguided statement?! In total, 36,046 – out of the 40,833 - are employed in some capacity. This is where NALP reaches its 88.3% employment placement rate. If you look further on this chart, you will also see that many of these jobs are PART-TIME.

    The following statements are beyond dispute:

    Legal outsourcing is having a negative impact on recent grads. Many JDs returned to their prior job/career. Many others are scrambling for work, and tons are under-employed. There is a glut of U.S. attorney jobs, as ABA law schools have produced FAR TOO MANY lawyers than the job market will bear – and have done so for decades. The current recession has exacerbated these stark issues. Tuition is skyrocketing, and so recent grads are taking on more NON-DISCHARGEBLE DEBT than ever before WHILE facing a grossly over-saturated, shrinking job field.

  17. "Once you have the JD, you have closed the door on anything other than being a lawyer."

    Wrong: Politicians, contract specialists, risk managers, CEOs, program managers, government officers, private consultants, legal and regulatory advisors, banking officers, and FBI agents are but a few of hundreds of job categories where a J.D. is "preferred" but not required.

    The fact is, people ARE doing these jobs and many ARE filled by J.D. holders, who are not, and never have been attorneys.

  18. Good theory, 9:26. Now all you need is some hard evidence to back up your claim. just look at the numbers of attorneys that return to school for another degree. Also, ask any JD who has applied for non-legal work how easy they have it. Nonlaw employers are very suspicious of attorneys & JDs that are not working in the law. And I don't blame them. How is someone trained in legal theory gonna help Company X sell more widgets?

  19. To Nando, 9:25 a.m.: Those numbers really don't look so bad to me. Obviously, law school is filled with spoiled brats who feel entitled and don't want to find real work. This would explain this level of "laziness" when it comes to working in the real world.

    Who knows. Maybe some families are rich or some new law grads just want to "coast" for a few years after a long seven years of school and therefore only take part-time jobs.

    Besides, for some, the practice of law "sucks" and new grads just don't want to.

    In any event, you just can't assume that every single law grad is gunning for a job as a lawyer - which is the assumption you are making.

  20. "How is someone trained in legal theory gonna help Company X sell more widgets?"

    Great question, but how is someone with a history major or an economics major going to do this any better? How does anyone enter any job with any major?

    The answer is that everyone starts somewhere. A (law) degree is only a starting point - not a finish line.

  21. Chris:

    Sorry, but you are an effing moron; not mention arrogant.

    Please tell all the newly minted JDs where they can sign up to apply for that "CEO" position.

  22. Chris, I am not assuming that everyone goes to law school to be a lawyer. However, it appears that there were roughly 15,099 too many JDs for the number of jobs requiring bar passage, for the Class of 2009. Some people do go into politics, either as candidates, staff members, or public policy analysts. However, one could just as easily earn an MPA or MPP and do this work. Even when your candidate wins an election, it is not a given that he or she will decide to bring you on board.

    For example, I am looking at an application from a Willamette JD who has worked as a finance director, FEC compliance consultant, or deputy campaign finance manager for five Congressional candidates across the nation – including two who won a seat in Congress.

    The J.D. generally is a mark against lawyers who are applying for non-legal jobs. The whole “You can do anything with a law degree” platitude that “law professors” freely toss around is one of the biggest industry lies.

    The fact remains that MANY JDs are busting their ass to get into the field. Hence, the large number of desperate lawyers who decide to hang out their own shingle. This is one risky proposition: no legal skills, no clientele, little budget, and you will be competing directly against established, experienced solo attorneys and law firms. (Open up the Yellow Pages, and count the number of attorneys listed.) Many others take on court-appointed cases.

    After seven years of little income, these people are anxious to earn a living. (They have bills and student loans to pay.) It is you who is assuming that many of these people are lazy kids who feel entitled to a big salary – and don’t want to find “real work.”

    “To Nando, 9:25 a.m.: Those numbers really don't look so bad to me. Obviously, law school is filled with spoiled brats who feel entitled and don't want to find real work. This would explain this level of "laziness" when it comes to working in the real world.”

    Is that why 1,058 Class of 2009 JDs decided to go into solo practice? Go to the bottom of this PDF. There, you will see Job Characteristics by Employer Type. Here is the listing from NALP, in order of Employer Type; % Short Term; and % Part-Time:

    Academic; 68.6; 55.7
    Business; 30.2; 19.8
    Judicial Clerk; 100; 1.3
    Private Practice; 8.4; 5.9
    Government; 18.1; 7.7
    Public Interest; 40.9; 19.8

    IN TOTAL, 24.9 PERCENT OF ALL REPORTED JOBS – FROM THE JD CLASS OF 2009 - WERE SHORT TERM AND 10.3% WERE PART-TIME. Does that indicate, to you, that the job market for Class of 2009 JDs was healthy?!?! Is it your position that there are plenty of jobs for 44,000 JDs, but that many of these people are simply too damn lazy to go out there and find those jobs?

  23. Hahaha...chris is so delusional. I hope chris goes to law school. He deserves it.

    Lazy, entitled people drop money on higher education and study because they're too "lazy" to do anything else. All the people in med school are "lazy" too, they should have been working that entire time or something instead of going to school.

    Hell anybody that goes to college in the first place I guess is "lazy" and "entitled." Certainly nobody is trying to improve themselves and become more competitive (at least in their minds). We should all work at McDonalds or The Gap for our entire lives instead of trying.

  24. It looks like mean ol' Nando hurt a lemming's feelings. Good job!

    This chris person doesn't realize that people who have gone on before are trying to impart some knowledge on him. What a fool. And watch, he'll complain about the job market in a few years. Or when he can't find a job, will he refer to himself as lazy?

  25. I went into law school planning on working outside the law after I graduated, preferrably government/policy jobs. Four years later I am still practicing law because those other jobs really don't want lawyers. The J.D. really does close doors.

  26. I still think the NALP total employment figures is fudged somehow. I wonder if they consider people who are signed up with temp agencies who have done some kind of temp work in the past but are currently unemployed as "employed," even though they may theoretically never get any work through the agency again.

  27. I am one of those who went on to get another degree to make myself more marketable in a nonlegal position. My J.D. didn't get me anywhere, except deeply in debt. Had to borrow another 10K for the degree that actually got me a job (MPA).

    The new law people will have to learn the hard way. Doubt they will pay attention, and save themselves from debt slavery, and Hell.

  28. My own experience is applying to non-attorney positions is that the interviewers are intrigued, but they, as most non-attorney do, wonder what the hell is the matter with you since you're not working as a practicing attorney. In addition, there's the anti-lawyer sentiment generally. Plus some people I think are put off by attorneys since they might feel their job will be in jeopardy once that smarty pants, hyper competitive lawyer gets his/her foot in the door. Just my $0.02.

  29. As an underemployed former attorney, I too have had to take the JD off of my resume.

    I graduated from a top 20 school in the middle of my class. It was rough even before the recession.

    I have switched over to health care (medical school), and I am very quiet about having a JD. Whenever people find out about it, they want to know why I threw away my lottery ticket by not being a lawyer. I tell them that the law is not for me and some other rubbish. But really the jobs just don't exist, and what does exist is so boring.

    If I could go back in time to when I was 18, I would get my degree a degree in engineering and go to medical school. At least the AMA has our back in not letting in more students than there are jobs.

  30. To 10:38 AM,

    "Lazy, entitled people drop money on higher education and study because they're too "lazy" to do anything else."

    I didn't mean to come across as arrogant by using the term "lazy," and accordingly apologize. However, law school is filled with students who either a.) hated their previous job or b.) didn't know what else to do after undergrad.

    Therefore, its not unreasonable that after law school, a substantial number of these people STILL don't know what they want, or hate the practice of law and STILL want another route in life.

    For the remainder who want to be lawyers but can't find a big or mid-law firm to latch on to: Well, not everyone can get an A or B on a law exam either.

    Even then, there still exist paths to redemption which lead into bigger practice areas.

  31. Christopher Wheaties

  32. Can't recall who on this blog said it, but the 1Ls should be advised to drop out if they are not in the top 20% of their classat the end of the semester or year. otherwise, they are throwing money away, and unless they are in the top 20 schools, they will never find a decent job. Better to flush a semester's worth of tuition and such down the drain (or a year), than accumulate all that debt for w wrthless degree and worst, or a ticket into s shitty job at best.

  33. Hmmm...

    This seems to be the jist of what Chris is saying: "If you can dream it, you can do it!"

    Well, ok, whatever. Chris, you go girl!

    Meanwhile, sorry to shock you back into reality, but could you please get back to work - I'd like a venti Cafe Mocha to go.

  34. To 2:48 PM,

    I was going to reply to you now, but there doesn't seem to be anything logical in your comment that warrants a reply.

    Perhaps you would sound more intelligent grunting next time.


    "And for the opportunity to enter a saturated legal market with long odds against them, the tens of thousands newly minted lawyers who graduate each year from non-elite schools will have paid around $150,000 in tuition and living expenses, and given up three years of income. Many leave law school with well over $100,000 in non-dischargeable debt, obligated to pay $1,000 a month for thirty years.

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

    The law graduates posting on these sites know the score. They know that law schools pad their employment figures—96% employed—by counting as “employed” any job at all, legal or non-legal, including part time jobs, including unemployed graduates hired by the school as research assistants (or by excluding unemployed graduates “not currently seeking” a job, or by excluding graduates who do not supply employment information). They know that the gaudy salary numbers advertised on the career services page—“average starting salary $125,000 private full time employment”—are actually calculated based upon only about 25% of the graduating class (although you can’t easily figure this out from the information provided by the schools). They know all this because they know of too many classmates who didn’t get jobs or who got low paying jobs—the numbers don’t jibe with their first hand knowledge.

    They know the score now. But they didn’t know it when they first applied to law school. They bought into the numbers provided by law schools. The mission of these sites is to educate, to warn away, the incoming crop of prospective law students—to save them from becoming victims of the law school scam."

    The above was not written by Huey Long, Karl Marx or a scam-blogger. It was authored by a law professor named Brian Tamanaha. He even noted that the bleak lawyer job market was NOT created by the current recession. It simply exacerbated the problems of advances in legal software, outsourcing, and the glut of attorneys in this nation.

  36. I am sorry, Chris, but you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. I can think of no degree field other than the JD which comes with a package of unique negatives as the JD does.

    Non-law employers LOATHE the JD, and are highly suspicious of those seeking non-law jobs who aren't practicing law.

    You will find this out, apparently the hard way. It is NOT like having an English BA or an Economics degree.

  37. Is this the same Chris that is using his TTTT degree from St. Thomas and swimming in shitlaw in Minnesota? Chris, shouldn't you be on your transistor radio waiting for the location of the next ambulance destination?

  38. Chris, please post the full names and phone numbers of senior Human Resources staff for companies you've contacted that have specifically stated they have absolutely *no* suspicion whatsoever of JD's applying for non-legal jobs, and have no questions at all about why these people aren't chasing down attorney jobs. I am sure Nando would love to get on the phone with these people and ask them questions about what it's like to be a fictional character.

  39. I would just like to nominate my alma mater, good old Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, as the next malodorous stink-stack to be rightly exposed.

    Once (I believe) solidly in the second tier, it has tumbled noticeably deep into the third tier of late. It is a shame, as I believe the rest of the university, from automotive crash research tied to its engineering and science grad programs, to a well-known Medical Center, is a shining example of an urban university.

  40. Hey guys Chris is right. There are tons of opportunities. You just have to know where to look :)

  41. Chris - - how dare you have the nerve to say that jobs exist, that the sky is not falling and not everyone who has gone to grad school/law school is a miserable person who lives in a cardboard box, what are you thinking. Just think if more people like you, show up on these blogs and post maybe someday the bloggers will have no one left to preach to.

  42. Dear Friends: Some, if not most, of you young people have fallen victim to a glamour about the law and lawyers, and thus are now beginning a career of indentured servitude comprised of what will be a whole- life struggle to repay the $150,000 or so in debt you have incurred to secure your J.D. Degree. But that may not be the worst of it. Even once(and IF) you find the "job of your dreams," that is with sufficient income to repay this enormous debt, the more noble- souled people in your group ,invariably, will be seriously discontented and unhappy, and indeed hate the law-and your life-for succumbing to what the law profession has become these last two decades, in terms of Ego, Power, and Money! Now some heartfelt advice from a solo practicioner now in his 40th year of law practice, with two M.A. Degrees, and having taught more than 100 courses in Philosophy on the adjunct faculties of three universities- all the while in solo law practice. Get a deferral on repayment of your student loan for one year while you get a MA Degree in a field that you truly might love, and then go into a public high school teaching or other career which, by the student loan regs, would forgive the corpus of the student loan debt after five or so years. For you, this may be the only way out, I assure you-as your true friend.I did not have anything near your level of your debt when I entered the law career. My M.A. in Philosophy and adjunct teaching was my way to counterbalance the ugliness of what the law and the profession had become. If you try to solve your student debt problem by sufficient moneymaking in the law, money will then become the God of your law practice, you will sink into abject Idolotry, and what little is left of the core "art" of legal practice will be lost to you-and your soul lost along with it.In my career I have counted three close friend lawyers who after 3 or 4 years seeing what law practice is truly like desperately (to the point of tears and indeed their psychological balance) believed that the sharing and communion of teaching, instead of the savage divisiveness of fighting for money and advantage(individual or corporate-under the guise of "Rights" and "Legal Wrongs") was their true vocation, but they were unable to move to that more noble career because they could not live(even simply) and service a $200,000 student loan debt on a high school teachers salary of $50,000, assuming they were able to secure such a position-which they were not because of lack of an MA, certification, etc. Best to you always. Salvatore M. Latona, Esq.; e-mail:

  43. 12:10 am. You have a strange way of spending your free time. Aren't you wasting your valuable time here? What can you possibly learn here?

    That is atypical of successful persons.

  44. This is a great straight forward article. I wish it was around when I was applying to school 20 years ago. I would have made sure I got into a top school or not gone at all.

    I went to a 4th tier crapper because it was all about getting in to a school and being a lawyer to save face, score/keep chicks, or live up to expectations of others who thought I was just so smart. With very few exceptions, you dont know if you will like practicing law until you do it. I was indifferent about it, but alas I had no other options. I could not even score a waiters job with my liberal arts degree. If you think getting a non law job is hard with a JD, its just as hard to get a crap service job with a college degree or atleast it was 20 years ago. I also tried to get a non law job after law school and I see the things are the same today. You might as well hide the JD to find one because people who didnt or couldnt go to law school are typically jealous of JDs without even having a reason to because they like most assume JD is the ticket to riches and you are a loser if you dont take advantage of it.

    Long story short, I took a shit job as an associate at a law firm that initially paid me less then the pizza delivery job i managed to get with my college degree. I got experience which was the key and learned how to practice Plaintiffs PI and Comp. I was not going to share in the profits in this firm and like everyone whose name was not on the door, you moved on did who knows what.

    I opened my own practice 10 years ago and in all honesty it has been better then I expected. I paid my student loans off and have socked away more then most by age 40. However, I feel like I peaked 5 years ago and it is a struggle to make a decent living. The belief that your 40s are prime earning years are not true in law practice if you come from a shit school and arent in big law.

    There are always exceptions to everything, but to invest 100-200k in a degree where you cant find a job is stupid. If you do find a job, you will make shit and ultimately have to decide to go out on your own which is filled with stress and malpractice missteps everyday. You wont get those big PI cases or even small ones without regularity because the big mill firms have 20 offices and are spending money like crazy to market. So you end up doing court appointed criminal work which is horrible.

    I enjoy my work when the money is good, but if I am not making the money to justify the sacrifices and stress, the work is not worth it. There is a reason lawyers are not happy and you can see it in the courtroom of all those who arent just a mouthpiece for one client but have tons of pain in the ass clients.

    Looking back all that Palsgraf, fear of failing out, and hatred of the assholes who attended my 4th tier crapper, none of which I even know or talk to anymore, you have to laugh at why you wasted your prime years on something that is not a life long profession much less a short time profession for those who feel the need to be a lawyer.

    Just be careful lawyer wanna bes. Even if you can make it in to the profession, it will be tough to make money to pay the debt and justify the crap you put up with which can only be justified by real money. Helping people is great, but most people you help are shit and you shouldnt have to do it on a teachers salary. I also see that getting started today is so much harder then it was in the past. Its not getting better as there is no middle. Big law lawyers will get rich and small time lawyers can no longer expect a solid middle of the road salary. You will get rich or struggle for as long as you can stand to stay in until you just wake up.

    I could share enough stories to write a book.
    Good luck.

  45. A law degree is only a beginning - and not a "ticket" - towards your opportunity to achieve success.

  46. Hey, Chris:

    You're a moron and a troll. Why don't you STFU!

  47. A law degree is only a beginning - and not a "ticket" - towards your opportunity to achieve success.

    I thought a "ticket" was "only a beginning." I mean, you can't practice law without earning a law degree first, so isn't a law degree essentially an expensive-ass "ticket" into the legal profession?

  48. I can think of no other "beginning" that also operates as a 500 lb. weight around your neck...unlike OTHER degree programs, the JD truly is different, and not in a good way. Non-law employers despise the JD, as they do JD-holders seeking, in desperation and exasperation, a non-law job.

    "Ticket", "beginning", whatever the fuck it is called, it is a singularly dangerous "credential" which many maim and cripple your prospects in the non-law world. DO NOT, lemmings, DO NOT believe the bullshit of these people who say you can "do anything" with a law degree. That chestnut is only true for people who HAVE ALREADY HAD OR BEGUN successful careers in other gigs, not for beginners looking for their first real job. For some of them, yes, law is a nice finishing degree. That is not you.

    Apples and oranges, as they say.

  49. I can't think of any other "ticket" or "beginning" that costs $150,000 to obtain and only returns between $30 and $40 thousand in salary (before taxes are taken out).

    You're in massive denial, friend. You will unfortunately learn the hard way how completely massive a level of denial you are in. Please come back here in a few years and explain to us all how Sallie Mae responded when you told them you couldn't repay the monthly minimum on your law loan because you decided to purchase a "beginning" that never began anywhere. Hope you like the taste of ramen noodles.

  50. "only returns between $30 and $40 thousand in salary"

    (Sarcastically) Of course you should make $500k a year after graduation. Especially considering that doctors only make $40k a year while they complete residency after four years of med school. I mean, during law school you have worked so much harder than a doctor, right? Besides, who cares about making six figures a year after you gain a few years of real experience??? All that matters is now, now, now.

  51. "Hey, Chris:

    You're a moron and a troll. Why don't you STFU!"

    WOW! Such compelling logic. You totally swayed my view and probably everyone else's too.

    I'll bet you were the type of teenager in high school that cried when you didn't get your way with your friends...which probably left you without a whole lot of friends.

  52. Great point at 7:34PM Chris, even if you did use sarcasm to make it. I agree that the whole point of law school is to give you a foundation and a beginning.

    Lawyers are (eventually) paid well because of the skills they develop after practice as lawyers. While law school doesn't always teach skills of attorneys, it does teach you how to learn and navigate legal fields.

  53. The law is a self-filtering profession. It will filter out those who truly don't want to practice. If you truly want to practice, then you will find a way to break in to the profession after law school, whether working for low pay or not. The dividends will pay off after experience.

    In the worst cases, how does one get legal experience in a poor job market? You fight for it in every way possible! Hang out at the court house, see if solos have overflow cases, public defender, volunteer legal work - MAKE [STUFF] HAPPEN!

  54. Hey August 29, 2010 10:20 AM,

    The only troll I see on here is you. All other posts are simply opposing arguments. However, telling someone to "STFU" suggests that YOU may be the real troll.

    Btw, time for the next article to cover up any evidence of opposing viewpoints in the comments sections of this article.

  55. Telling someone to "STFU" is a bit rude. However, it may also reflect a growing frustration with willful ignorance and intellectual deception among the trolls.

    Also, these last few comments read like those from Tyson, the self-admitted “law student at a Midwestern TT.” He kept posting from Washington, DC and Gaithersburg, MD over the summer. Apparently, he feels the need to change his handle, since the school year has started. However, his delusional optimism/deceptive outlook give him away.

    He likes to post a comment under "Tyson" - or "Chris" - and then follow this up with a few "anonymous" comments “applauding the position" of the other anonymous, “like-minded users.” Look at the time stamps for the last 4 comments.

    August 29, 2010 at 10:50 pm states, “Great point at 7:34PM Chris, even if you did use sarcasm to make it. I agree that the whole point of law school is to give you a foundation and a beginning.”

    10:57 pm and 11:04 pm follow the similar pattern of meaningless platitudes, writing style, and “argument.”

    Tyson/Chris has done this on SEVERAL posts. On threads that have not received lots of recent comments, Tyson/Chris makes several comments in a row as “anonymous” – and right after “Chris” or “Tyson” has posted a response. He usually does so towards the end of the day, also. What are the odds that several idiots come on here at the exact same time, and ALL decide to post their delusional musings at the same time?

    So, Chris, tell us why law school is a good, sound investment of three years of one’s life, time, energy – plus large sums of NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt.

    “Btw, time for the next article to cover up any evidence of opposing viewpoints in the comments sections of this article.”

    I do not post entries to “cover up” evidence of opposing viewpoints. I thoroughly enjoy beating down your weak-ass arguments with the facts, industry figures, charts, etc. Your ignorant viewpoint actually strengthens my argument that there are too many law schools pumping out too many lawyers for the available job market. If you had some evidence to back up your argument, then you would produce it. I enjoy exposing you as a fraud. However, people want to see more posts knocking down the law school industry. There is so much info out there. Employing your “logic,” should the New York Times stop putting out news stories every day? By publishing the next day’s edition, are they trying to stop contrary views on their online comments page?

    Chris/Tyson, you truly are delusional. Level with me. Are you a high school or college student who simply has his heart set on being a lawyer?


    stumbled upon this at jdu. Maybe the lemmings haven't come across this student loan clock before, either. $847 billion in outstanding student loans in the US, bitchez.

  57. It is true that job prospects are bad. One option for a eager new law grad is to get a year or two's worth of experience as a public defender/prosecutor/volunteer. After you learn how to avoid malpractice, go solo and start growing a book.

    It may take five years to build a solid book, but it is one path to achieving success in the legal field.

    Law loans in default? Pay what you can. What are they going to really do if you can't pay? Nothing, since they can't squeeze blood from a turnip.

  58. All I can say is...thank sweet goodness that my physician's medical school didn't stop at teaching him how to "think like a doctor." No, in fact, they went beyond that, making sure, before he got a medical license and was turned loose on the public, that he actually knew how to open up somebody's body.

  59. Oh, and by the way shills/apologists, make sure that malpractice premium is paid up while you "experiment" on some poor, helpless client who is expecting you to have some real skills, yet, unbeknownst to him, you are still "getting your feet wet."

    Good luck with that.

  60. Law School is a "sound investment" in the same way that jumping off of a five storey building roof is a "sound athletic feat": you may be the one in a hundred who survives it. However, the fact that one in a hundred survive the experience DOES NOT, repeat, DOES NOT, lemmings, make it a good ideato give it a try.


  61. I can't believe some of the anonymous people on here. "fight for it in every way possible! Hang out at the court house, see if solos have overflow cases, public defender, volunteer legal work." "...get a year or two's worth of experience as a public defender/prosecutor/volunteer...."

    Does anyone honestly think these are novel, helpful suggestions, or that it actually makes sense to build a practice this way?

  62. "Does anyone honestly think these are novel, helpful suggestions, or that it actually makes sense to build a practice this way?"

    Build a practice? Maybe not. Gain experience to open your own practice? Yes.

  63. There are so many problems with the legal field. I can say that I experienced many of the issues people have been discussing. Non legal employers just do not get the JD. A law degree does nothing for helping you with non-legal employers. It was a surprise to me, but non-law employers look at someone with a JD degree and think that person is crazy for not practicing in the highly lucrative field of law like all those TV lawyers, or they think you will quit the first chance you get to practice law, and they surely are not going to compensate you for the law degree. The whole versatility of a law degree is a myth. A law degree closes doors, it does not open them. Also, I would just like to say that the ABA is the worst professional organization ever.

  64. 8/28 @12:10: Great post: If you think of law as “a profession” you will be disappointed. I think of law as wrestling match where 2 people go to court and grapple over a pot of money; some of which they get to stuff in their own pocket. (in either hourly or contingency fees). Think of it as anything else and you’ll be disappointed.
    8/28 @ 1:48: Also a great post: It also sounds like you’ve done everything right. You got experience, but not money, at a PI/comp firm and then started your own PI/comp firm with criminal defense for daily cash flow. I’m surprised by your comment that you capped out at age 35 and have been going downhill. As I understand PI, and I don’t do it, there are 2 general ways of doing it: 1. A mill does heavy advertising then gets mundane cases which it settles quickly. Expendable associates and paralegals often do the work. 2. A sophisticated litigation firm does outstanding work on big cases and gets great results. Its reputation attracts referrals for lucrative cases from other lawyers, who get a 1/3 referral fee. Of course, a law firm can combine both 1 and 2. I suggest that you invest in mill advertising and/or try to get into more sophisticated litigation.
    You make an interesting point about malpractice. I don’t handle small civil cases. I handle criminal cases (which are virtually malpractice proof) for cash flow and larger business litigation (which I take seriously and won’t commit malpractice on) on contingency. Small civil litigation (ie judgment less than $50k) sucks because there’s not enough money for you to give a damn about the case, and you have to do a lot of small cases to make money. At the same time, the rules of procedure apply just like in real cases and you can easily blow a deadline, especially if you have a lot of these small cases. You sound like you’re stuck in the dangerous middle. You should move either downmarket to making an advertising plea mill or upmarket to more sophisticated litigation.
    Law was once like medicine. Every buffoon could make basic decent money. It is now like computer science. Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and they guy that fixed my server yesterday for $30/hr are all “computer scientists”. A law degree is an admission to the fight; not a guarantee that you’ll be the champion. 8/29 @10:50 said it best: “Law is a self-filtering profession. It will filter out those who truly don’t want to practice.”

  65. 8:30 @ 8:50: "the ABA is the worst professional organization ever"
    The ABA represents BigLaw. It doesn't represent you. BigLaw could care less if a million more lawyers come in to do real estate closings and divorce.

  66. How dare the posters from 8/30 3:02PM - 8/30 3:18; 8/31 11:03PM - 8/31 5:57AM "post a comment . . . and then follow this up with a few 'anonymous' comments 'applauding the position' of the other anonymous, 'like-minded users.' Look at the time stamps for the last [several] comments."

    After all:

    "What are the odds that several idiots come on here at the exact same time, and ALL decide to post their delusional musings at the same time?"

    I didn't say it folks. Nando did.

  67. Chris

    Learn how to read, bitch. 8/30 3:02 pm, 8/30 3:18 pm, 8/30 11:03 pm, and 8/31 5;57 are distinct from your posts which are usually 2-5 minutes apart. In case you didn't notice, 8/30 11:03 pm is about 7 hours before the post at 5:57 am this morning. Also, learn to make a decent argument, dumbshit. Signing off for Reading Rainbow, this is Lavar Burton.

  68. Just as I figured, Chris has been posting as “Chris” and also as “anonymous” to support “Chris’s” arguments.

    Hello, “Chris” – how is the weather in Indianapolis today? What TT are you attending? Could it be 86th ranked Indiana University-Indianapolis? Guess which school will be featured next on this blog, readers.

    Here is a list of Chris’s activity on TTR for the last six days:

    Aug 31 2010 8:11 am; 4 actions; (session time of) 23 m 4 s
    Aug 30 2010 8:52 pm; 5 actions; 8 m 30 s
    Aug 30 2010 2:44 pm; 2 actions; 34 s
    Aug 30 2010 12:21 pm; 3 actions; 20 m 32 s
    Aug 30 2010 11:33 am; 2 actions; 10 m 39 s
    Aug 30 2010 9:06 am; 1 action; 10 m 20 s
    Aug 29 2010 10:44 pm; 9 actions; 23 m 16 s
    Aug 29 2010 8:42 pm; 2 actions; 52 s
    Aug 29 2010 8:11 pm; 1 action; 10 m 19 s
    Aug 29 2010 7:20 pm; 8 actions; 31 m 1 s
    Aug 29 2010 10:01 am; 3 actions; 5 m 54 s
    Aug 26 2010 6:37 pm; 2 actions; 3 m 42 s
    Aug 26 2010 5:33 pm; 1 action; 1 m
    Aug 26 2010 3:08 pm; 3 actions; 4 m 50 s
    Aug 26 2010 12:55 pm; 4 actions; 29 m 52 s
    Aug 26 2010 9 am; 10 actions; 1 h 7 m
    Aug 26 2010 8:10 am; 11 actions; 38 m 41 s

    So, up to this point, Chris has spent 290 minutes and 6 seconds, i.e. 290.1 minutes on this site since August 26, 2010. The kid has literally spent 4 hours and 50.1 minutes on this blog. Get a girlfriend, son. Develop a hobby, go fishing, take up bowling, do something with your immense spare time.

    In these 17 visits, Chris has also managed to engage in 71 actions on this blog. He still doesn’t understand the basic premise of this blog, i.e. that there are too many law schools producing far too many JDs for the available number of attorney – and law-related – positions out there. Law school is one expensive endeavor, and prospective students need access to better info before pursuing this path.

    Lastly, by looking at the time stamps above, we can CLEARLY see that “Chris” posted as “anonymous” on August 29 2010 at 10:50 pm, 10:57 pm and 11:04 pm. You are not only delusional, Chris, you are also pathetic.

    Anonymous at 10:57 pm said:

    “Great point at 7:34PM Chris, even if you did use sarcasm to make it. I agree that the whole point of law school is to give you a foundation and a beginning.”

  69. "What are the odds that several idiots come on here at the exact same time, and ALL decide to post their delusional musings at the same time?"

    I didn't say it folks. Nando did."

    After he showed that you posted several times as anon users to bolster your case, might I ask 'who is the idiot now?'

  70. does Chris (1) have this much time to waste, (2) have such a black-and-white view of the world, and (3) have so much contempt for graduates who are struggling to make ends meet?'s easy for someone who has never had to struggle to take this sort of bootstrapping approach. Have fun working for Daddy's firm, Chris.

  71. He is likely (as was pointed out earlier, I believe) an enraged liberal arts undergrad angered by those here who are so bold as to "kill his dream" and otherwise besmirch and befoul his planned escape path of law school, rather than to buck up and enter some productive aspect of society, like health care or teaching.

    No one without a vested interest, in love with the CONCEPT of law school,is gonna work that hard here.

  72. "In closing, are you anxious about your decision to attend law school now?! If you take nothing else from this blog entry, remember this: if you are not from a wealthy family AND are not strongly connected to the legal industry, DROP OUT OF LAW SCHOOL AFTER FIRST SEMESTER IF YOU ARE NOT IN THE TOP 5%-10% OF YOUR CLASS."

    This is the best advice - ever.

    Law school students think he economy has something to do with the lack of jobs. But this is simply not the case, despite the fact that law schools blame the economy for all of the unemployed and broke law students.

    I graduated not too long ago when the economy was booming and only half of my class had a job at graduation, and I went to a "Top 50" school. Now, just a few years later, I would estimate that half of my class no longer practices law, if they ever started - this is primarily due to a lack of jobs, not talent, desire or ability.

    As this article states, there are 44,000 law graduates every year and there are just not that many jobs, even in good times.

  73. Have any law graduates who are indebted and unemployed actually sued the law school for fraud? Why aren't people doing this???

    It seems like a slam-dunk case and if nothing else, it would be bad PR for law schools.

  74. @ Mr. Nando: "What TT are you attending? Could it be 86th ranked Indiana University-Indianapolis?"

    Now I know why you can't find a law job, buddy. Perhaps it is your jump to illogical inferences.

    I graduated this past May and I am working at a law firm in Indy until bar results come back. And yes, I do have a job offer. No, I did not graduate from this school. Just because one works or practices in a city does not necessarily mean that they went to school there. Duh.

    Btw, posting all of that odd information doesn't really say much about me except the city I happen to be typing from, but it does say quite a bit about who you are.

  75. A sobering report from the ABA:

    Even the "employment" the three LS grads pictured here is pathetic. One works two part-time jobs and is looking to paint houses this summer to make some money. Another supplements her income by selling belly rings one ebay.

    Even the salaried job she found--it's one that, for all her happy talk about "using my JD in a different way," is one that high school graduates can do. It by no means requires a JD.

    For this, they are six figures in debt! Non-dischargeable debt, as Nando would emphasize.

    Note in particular the lawyer-turned-therapist who says the lack of jobs has nothing to do with talent or hard work (no, not even networking)! It's just that there are NO jobs, period.

  76. Chris, all of that "odd information" is from your viewing activity on this blog. It shows that the person with IP address has too much time on his hands. (This is not the sole IP address for the Indianapolis area. In fact, if I look at visitors by city, I typically see a wide array of IP addresses.) Get a life, kid. Ask a female co-worker out to lunch, or go to the movies with some friends.

    Remember, asking a woman out is only a beginning - and not a "ticket" - towards your opportunity to achieve success.

    Also, I was not assuming you went to school at IU-Indianapolis. I asked if you were attending this TT. Your logic is so weak, that it is hard to believe that you have even graduated from college.

    By the way, there was another troll who went by the handle "Tyson." He claimed to have been a law student at a TT in the Midwest. Yet, he kept posting stupid comments from Washington, DC. He stopped commenting on this forum about the same time the school year started. It appears that you started following this blog at the beginning of the school year.

    You and “Tyson” have very similar writing styles and foolish arguments. In fact, the similarities are suspicious. For instance, he would also whine, "Yes, post another entry so you can bury the opposite viewpoint." Taking these things into account, it is NOT a big leap to suspect that you and “Tyson” are one and the same person.

    I am sorry that you feel the need to post as "Chris" and then post "anonymous" comments afterward to support your earlier statements. That is pretty sad, especially for someone who claims to be working at a law firm. You would think a recent, or soon-to-be, lawyer had more important things to do, such as learning how to do his job so that he can pay his bills.

  77. So what you're saying is that there were only 29,000 jobs for 44,000 graduates? So only 2/3 of the graduates could get legal jobs? So, those 29,000 people either went to a top eight law school, or had connections?

    Question for you: you had three years in law school. Why didn't you MAKE connections? Did you just think you were entitled?

  78. Question for you: you had three years in law school. Why didn't you MAKE connections? Did you just think you were entitled?

    September 11, 2010 3:11 PM

    Whoever claimed an entitlement here?

    Why didn't you READ better?

    The scambloggers merely point out that for many if not most students, law school is a poor investment compared to other things one could possibly do in life.

    What is wrong with that, and, specifically, why do YOU have a problem with that?


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