Thursday, April 23, 2015

Washington Post Points Out That Law Schools Are Losing Relevance

Excellent News!: On April 20, 2015, the Washington Post published an article – from reporter Danielle Douglas-Gabriel - entitled “Why law schools are losing relevance – and how they’re trying to win it back.” Check out this blunt opening:

“Law schools across the country are facing their lowest enrollment numbers in years, causing some to slash their budgets and revamp their programs in an effort to attract students worried about finding a job in a diminished legal industry. 

Nearly 46,000 people have applied so far to go to an accredited U.S. law school in the most recent admissions cycle, a figure that puts applications on track to hit just short of 53,000 total. By comparison, there were a total of 77,000 applicants in 2010 and 90,000 in 2004, according to the Law School Admission Council. Even top-ranked Harvard Law School witnessed a drop in applications before rebounding in the last two years. 

Poor enrollment is hurting the bottom line at some schools. Washington and Lee’s School of Law said it plans to cut 12 positions, while Western Michigan University’s Thomas M. Cooley Law School delivered pink slips to more than half of its faculty and staff members last summer. 

Going to law school used to feel like a no-brainer for college graduates seeking financial security. But that calculus has changed, with many firms that suffered during the recession still struggling to fully recover. Last month, Wiley Rein, one of the Washington area’s biggest law firms, cut 48 attorneys and staff members, an estimated 9 percent of its overall workforce. 

“It’s still really difficult for first-years. I’m seeing people with good credentials from good law schools struggling to get jobs,” said Darin Morgan, a partner at Major, Lindsey & Africa, a legal recruitment firm.” [Emphasis mine]

Do you understand that, lemming?!?! Or do I need to spell it out for you with crayon on posterboard?! Those with an IQ above room temperature are avoiding law school in droves, because they are smart enough to face reality, i.e. they have figured out that this is a GLUTTED field. This is not some rant from a bitter law grad. Later on, the piece contained this nugget:

“Law school is not a ticket to financial security,” said Kyle McEntee, a Vanderbilt University Law School graduate who helped found the group Law School Transparency. “There’s just no evidence that the people starting school now are going to end up okay, and to me that’s really concerning.” [Emphasis mine]

The fact remains that taking on an additional $120K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt – for a chance to enter a SATURATED “profession” – is typically a ticket to financial ruin, not a path to status or security. Unfortunately, too many waterheads feel that THEY will graduate from a third tier commode or fourth tier trash pit, and somehow come out making bank by representing broke-ass clients and “fighting for justice.” These people should be removed from the gene pool, before they reproduce.

Falling Standards Equal Higher Admission Rates: On January 15, 2015, David Frakt posted a Faculty Lounge entry labeled “Cost Cutting in an Age of Declining Law School Enrollment.” As you can see, the pigs willingly lower their admi$$ion$ “standards” – rather than have some integrity and face more job cuts. Hell, the bitches and hags lay off janitors and non-tenured academics well before offering buyouts and “early retirement” packages to their fellow swine.

“For the last four years, enrollment has dropped each year by about two-thirds of the decline in applicants. If the pattern holds true this year, enrollment will decline by about 5.7%, which would put 2015 enrollment at around 35,750. 

Year      Decline in Applicants Decline in Enrollment 

2011     -10.0%                          -7.7% 
2012     -13.7%                          -9.2% 
2013     -12.3%                          -6.7% 
2014     -6.7%                            -4.5% 
2015     -8.5%                         Projected -5.7% 

For the past four years, virtually every law school in the country has been faced with a choice: lower admissions standards, shrink the entering class size, or some combination of the two. As I have previously noted, 95% of law schools have demonstrably lowered their standards and probably the real number is pretty close to 100%. This can be seen not only by the declining LSAT numbers of entering students, but also in the fact that enrollment has not declined at the same rate as the decline in applications.” [Emphasis mine]

Does anyone with a brain stem want to argue to the contrary? The pigs have been doing this for years, even before 2011. Paul Campos noted this trend, back on December 14, 2012. For $ome rea$on, the cockroaches admit a higher percentage of applicants – even when those prospective students are getting dumber.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, "law professors" and administrators do not give one damn about you, the student or recent graduate.  You are a mere means to an end, i.e. federal student loan money.  If you are still considering a "legal education," then you are an ideal candidate for a brain shunt.

Legions of JDs have been directly financially crushed by their choice to earn a law degree.  The attorneys job market is shrinking, and intelligent college grads are eschewing law school.  These in$titution$ are losing relevance, because they are now actively recruiting - and admitting - morons who have little chance of passing the bar exam and practicing law.  Since these ABA-accredited toilet stalls teach nothing practical, they have always relied on the supposed "prestige" and "flexibility" of the diploma.  Once that facade is removed, what the hell is left?


  1. In addition, the people with high LSAT scores disproportionately avoid law school. That too spells a decline in the quality of matriculants.

    Only about a dozen of the 200+ accredited law schools in the US—and let's not even talk about the unaccredited ones—offer anything like a reasonable chance of paying off financially. The other 190+ law schools should be considered fourth-tier toilets.

  2. The law school con game really isn't that difficult to navigate. Just be sure to meet two of the three following criteria:

    1. You're really smart.
    2. You're really rich.
    3. You're really connected.

    If you don't meet two of those prerequisites, then you shouldn't even consider law as a career. Don't even waste your time taking the LSAT or talking to an undergrad adviser.

    Law schools are nothing but self-interested money pits who don't give a rat's ass about you or your future. They're in it for the money first, and they'll be sure to extract every nickel from you that they can. And if you think for one minute that law is some sort of altruistic industry, then log off the computer and seek professional help immediately.

    If you're really smart, you'll know that there are only three law schools in this country that are "relevant." Getting into one of those top three schools is what you want. You can settle for the next five of the top 8, but you'd better come from money and have a ton of connections if you think you're going to just land a prestigious job upon graduation. Alternatively, you can attend your top state school on scholarship where you won't accrue as much student loan debt (the goal of this route being to graduate with no debt whatsoever). You'll still have to rely on connections to land you a job, but you'll be way ahead of your peers in the sense that you won't be paying back six figures of high interest student loans.

    If you're really rich, then it really doesn't matter whether you went to law school. You can do law as a sort of hobby, and you'll get to know a lot of these types as your career advances.

    If you're really connected, a friend or family member will probably land you your first gig right out of law school. Believe it or not, nepotism and patronage built the American legal industry. And as the old saying goes, it's not what you know, it's who you know.

    The American legal job market is beyond oversaturated, and is actually shedding jobs due to technology and outsourcing. Getting a legal career off the ground in such a market requires a lot more than intangibles like "drive" and "perseverance." It requires money, connections and a really good pedigree (preferably from your family and educational institutions).

    I'll say it again: Don't waste your time on law school unless you're really smart, really rich and really connected. It's the only way to insure yourself of a successful legal career nowadays.

    1. And if you go to a fourth tier shithole, it's not who you know but who you blow.

    2. Criterion #1 doesn't count for much. I'm the poster boy for that.

    3. I know what you mean, Old Guy. You really need two of the three criteria to make it in law. Otherwise, you're screwed. While high UGPAS and LSAT scores can land a 1L in a school which can provide a real opportunity in law, money and connections are what separate the wheat from the proverbial chaff in this business.

    4. Old guy, I don't get why the Federal Judge you worked for could not get you a job. Usually, all they need do is speak to one of the local Senior Partners and you are golden.

    5. I think the poster above is correct. I know some people from wealthy families, who went to law school just to have something to do with their time. It wasn't crucial for them to get a job after graduation since they had their family money to fall back on. Of course, they don't work now either, they just flaunt their "JD" degree around, it impresses some very young, naive women in bars, but that's about it.

    6. I also know someone who was wealthy and went to law school. To make things more convenient for his commute, he bought the apartment complex across the street from the law school. He never got a job working as a lawyer and didn't need to. He owned a lot of retail stores and made money that way.

  3. Dear Nando,

    Firstly, I want to acknowledge and laud you for all the hard work and effort you have put in this blog. I have been following your blog since day 1 and you have vastly improved as a writer, and critic of this ugly and god-forsaken "profession." Notice my quotation marks around the word profession. Calling the legal field a profession is a joke as it has never felt like a profession to me.

    Here is my tale: I enrolled in a Tier 1 (Top 40) law school in 1991. The law school I attended was a state flagship school and I qualified for in-state tuition. My annual tuition was about $7,500.00. I was blessed to have attended law school on scholarship (I turned down Georgetown, Cornell and Northwestern as I did not want to pay sticker to attend those schools).

    I wanted to be a lawyer ever since I was 12. Yes, looking back I was a naive kid who wanted to help the disenfranchised. On my first day of class, I got a preview of the journey I was embarking on. The class was given a research assignment and some asshole classmate hoarded the book we needed (back then we actually used the library stacks). The next day, someone posted a "cancelled class" sign on the door. Many early risers saw the sign and went back to the dorms. Guess what? A douchebag posted that sign and those of us who didn't go to class, were docked. These are the types of people who you will call "colleagues" when you become lawyers.

    As far as law school goes, I would describe it as a 3 year mind fuck. The professors were very condescending and most tried to emulate Prof. Kingsfield from the "Paper Chase." They bragged about their SCOTUS clerkship, published law review articles and talked about their brief time at a White Shoe law firm. Most law professors were narcissist and ego-maniacal windbags who looking back, probably could not cut it as real lawyers.

  4. After my first year of law school, the number 1 ranked law student dropped out (he was smarter than we all thought). I remember everyone in the class feeling shocked but at the same time they called him a loser. I looked up that classmate and he is the CEO of a consulting firm that made $15M last year. I guess the real losers were the suckers who stayed behind.

    Law school was a very arbitrary experience. Who made EIC of law review was based on politics and grading was suspect in certain courses. I graduated in the top third of my class. I worked in BigLaw for 4 years and I was miserable there. I became overweight as I worked late nights eating chinese takeout at my desk. I drank 5 cups of coffee a day and smoked a pack and half of Marlboro reds a day. I had no life. I was engaged while I was in law school but my fiance left me for another guy as I was working 80 hours a week and could not spend any time with her. She ran off with a guy who designed art for t-shirts.

    In case your wondering, my exit from BigLaw was epic. I butted heads with a main partner who started screaming at me in my office. For years I took this motherfucker's abuse. Finally one day, I just lashed out and told him to go fuck himself. After that incident I stopped getting assignments, my billable hours declined and within 6 months I was shown the door. I could not find another job in BigLaw. I found out years later, through a recruiter, that the partner I talked back to had blacklisted me with other firms and legal recruiters.

    Eventually I hung a shingle. I am going to stop now because writing about this stuff is bring up terrible memories that I had repressed though years of therapy. I promise to write about my experience as a solo practitioner at a later time. I suppose the purpose of writing this was cathartic but I also wanted to warn people who are thinking about going to law school. The law school deans do not care about you or your career goals. They just want your money. They had the ugly realities of this "profession" and would have you believe that it somehow confers glory and prestige. It is utter bullshit. If you are thinking of going to law school, please talk to other attorneys who have run the guantlet. Do not waste 3 years of your prime and go into debt. I didn't have any debt when I graduated yet here I am 21 years after I graduated law school depressed, on lithium, and feeling like a complete failure in life. And to think I entered this profession to help people. Who the fuck is going to help or save me?

    Lawrence C.

    1. Your last two sentences say it all, especially the last. Don't expect any help or to be saved. Just get out of law for good and all of the past associated with it think was in another life.

      The word is out about law school and the law...and the enrollment numbers show it.

    2. Let me answer your last question: NOBODY.

      The law schools don't give a rat's ass about your life. The ABA gladhanders don't give a rat's ass about your life. Your state bar doesn't give a rat's ass about your life.

      They're all in it for themselves. You're nothing but a revenue stream.

  5. I apologize for the typos and grammatical errors in my post. I wrote this as a stream of consciousness and did not edit my post before submitting.

    Lawrence C.

  6. Yes the truly intelligent college students will realize that law is a fantasy career, after doing their homework and research. It is the less intelligent who will continue to pursue this goal, and its easier than ever for them to get admission in to law school. Sadly I know many people who still believe a law degree is an automatic ticket to wealth and riches. The reality is, a law degree might get you a 20K per year internship and lots of ramen noodle dinners. I would feel sorry for some of these law students, but law students (and lawyers) themselves are not well known for their empathy and compassion for others.

  7. I think we all forget what it was like to be a college kid. (Using the descriptor, kid, is sad for me, because college was the best time of my life and I thought I was an adult then.)
    But when you are in college, you can get high grades, do the resume builders, and still have loads of fun. You are surrounded by young, interesting people with varied pursuits. The notion that the work world is a horrible, unfair place, and institutions, be they licensing boards, your professors, the school, counselors, etc, are all shames is beyond belief. You are also very worried about the future and grasp on to something that makes you feel safe.
    We need a way to communicate to this demographic.

  8. Law students and lawyers are hella mean

  9. Somewhat unrelated, but not all that unrelated.

    LSTC has pointed out that as a percentage of people taking the LSAT, those earning high scores and those earning low scores has not changed much.

    What has changed is that law schools started accepting lower scoring applicants when the absolute number of high-scoring applicants declined. There were always way more applicants scoring below 160 than above 160.

    Also, if you think law school enrollment has gotten the shit kicked out of it in aggregate, it turns out that federal student loan borrowers has also peaked and is declining.

    Federal student loan borrowers peaked in 2010 at 12 million and is down to 9 million for 2014. 25% drop in higher education borrowers in 4 years. Does that reflect a demographic shift or does it represent a whole hell of a lot of people deciding the rent for all of higher education is too damn high?

    Either way, the general anti-4-year-undergraduate degree trend will hit law schools too.

    Law schools won't run out of applicants altogether, but they'll run out of applicants who are sufficiently intelligent to teach themselves the law, and teach themselves enough to pass the bar exam. Which is what the fuck has been up for the last century.

    Law schools will not get away with charging 200k to Uncle Sam's credit card for each student who is incompetent to be an autodidact, like they fucking used to.

  10. Law schools have lost all relevance because of their own unethical behavior. They have treated their own students as opponents to be defeated by suppressing evidence, rather than the fully paying clients they actually are .

    Any practicing lawyer who deceived his clients like that would be lucky to escape a prison term, and would certainly lose his license. It's a good thing for most of those professors that they aren't practicing lawyers.

  11. We have to persevere and keep up the pressure in the form of vitriol against law professors and administrators, raw statistical data, and merciless ridicule of lemmings. We are shaping the conversation and building a culture. Soon nobody will think "wow, you're in law school, that's hard work and you will make lots of money!" Instead, they will look at you like the feckless moron you are and mock you mercilessly behind your back.

    When that day comes, law as a profession will finally be given the death it has deserved for decades. Stay frosty my friends.

  12. Of course law school is irrelevant. It won't even get you into doc review anymore.

    You'd be surprised (stunned really) if you spent a few years on the NYC doc review "circuit." There are people from all kinds of good schools: NYU, Emory, Fordham, Columbia, Penn, etc. But mostly it's Brooklyn/St Johns/Cardozo/Seton Hall/Rutgers kids- I'd say about 70% are from those schools.
    Kids from top, top schools usually make lousy coders. For example, I sat next to a guy on an O'Melveny project who I named "Dr. Smell-Good." He wore those Kenneth Cole dress boots that were popular about 8 years ago, but didn't wear socks with them. He'd take them off throughout the day and his feet smelled horrible. He was an NYU grad and got canned from a big firm in the downturn. He was literally boiling with rage at the doc review "lifestyle"- he didn't care for being berated all day and talked to like a 5 year old (which is how doc review just "is." For example, like 20 times a day there are "announcements" and such and everyone has to move their chairs in a circle and "listen up." It's kinda like prison, but in a funny way. Once you've been on a few gigs you get used to the game and don't really notice anymore how downright sad and degrading this shit is.
    Poor ole Dr. Smellgood wouldn't have any part of it. When he told me he went to NYU and I screamed out "you went to NYU are are working HERE? With us losers?" he said "don't say it so loud" and "I'm not a loser, I used to make six digits." I tried to help him get on the beam, but this guy was grinding his molars down to nubs he was so angry at all the typical BS, like having to sign out to use the bathroom and not having soda at your desk, etc. Also on Fridays the temp agency usually brings in free pizza, but one coder has to act as "pizza monitor" because things usually get out of hand with the free grub and all. There are rules like only one slice at a time and no "seconds" until everyone has had a slice. Also no "hoarding" slices for your friends who are out smoking or asleep at their desks, etc. Dr. Smellgood would bitch and moan that he felt it was like kindergarten, etc etc.
    I got kinda scared he was gonna bring an AK-47 to work and take us all out in a rage. Luckily that case settled one day at like 10 am and we all got sent home- they even paid us until 12 noon, which is rare.
    Another dude from Yale was called "fade out" because he would just kind of babble in this soft voice about random shit and look around to see if anyone was listening. He was big on JFK assassination trivia and crackpot theories and such- he would usually get canned pretty quick because he was just too far out to be a somewhat productive coder.
    There was a really funny Asian chick from I think Cornell who I worked with at Lexolution, which is an agency with its own doc review workspace on 40th St. She brought like half her apartment to work: she had a coffeemaker, all kinds of plates/mugs/cups, real silverware, little desk gadgets etc. Mind you that we sit at Bingo-hall type tables all packed one on top of each other, so your neighbor is like a cell mate.
    So one day she shows up with this little electric space-heater to use under her desk. She plugs it into a power strip and BAM!- blows out the electric for the whole room! It was beyond awesome. The super for the building was stuck in NJ so we got paid to sit there all day in the dark and do basically nothing.

    1. I thought predictive coding would have killed doc review by now. Is it really still going?

  13. Law schools are a cancer on the legal profession. Law faculty are pond scum.


    From Paul Campos, in his December 14, 2012 piece entitled “Endgame”:

    “What are the economic implications for law schools of an admissions cycle that ends up attracting only 53,000 applicants? To answer this question, we have to estimate how many matriculants such a cycle is likely to yield. This is a function of two factors: how many applicants end up getting admitted to at least one school to which they apply, and how many admitted applicants actually end up enrolling.

    As to the first factor, the percentage of applicants being admitted to at least one school has been rising for several years now:

    2004: 55.6%
    2005: 58.6%
    2006: 63.1%
    2007: 66.1%
    2008: 66.5%
    2009: 67.4%
    2010: 68.7%
    2011: 71.1%

    In other words, law school applicants were 27.9% more likely to be admitted to at least one school in 2011 than they had been seven years earlier. We don’t have numbers yet for how many 2012 applicants were admitted to at least one school, but since the number of applicants fell by 13.7%, while the number of new 1Ls fell by only 8.6%, it seems certain that the upward trend in percentage of applicants admitted continued.

    The second factor – how many applicants who are admitted to at least one school end up enrolling somewhere – has by contrast remained very stable: 86% to 88%.

    Now let’s apply these percentages to the current admissions cycle. If schools end up competing for 53,000 applicants, they would end up admitting only 37,683 people if they maintained the already highly inflated 2011 overall admissions percentage. Assuming 87% of these people enroll, that would produce a first year class of the 32,784, which would be 26.3% smaller than this fall’s entering class, and 37.6% smaller than the size of the class that will be graduating this coming spring.

    This, obviously, would be a disaster from a financial standpoint. The typical law school derives around 60% to 70% of its operating revenue from tuition – a figure which rises to 80% and higher for low-ranked schools (by contrast elite schools get close to half of their operating revenue from other sources, mainly their endowments). Thus a 30% decline in tuition will equal, for most schools something on the order of a 20% decline in overall revenues, which in turn will require a 20% budget cut.”

    Keep in mind that this is in the midst of intelligent potential applicants avoiding law school. The commodes are now enrolling more dolts, ass-wipes, and waterheads. Anyone with an ounce of honesty would have expected the decline in bar passage rates.

  15. By the way, my fellow doc reviewer mentioned in 1:35 above wasn't from some TTT either.

    The dude was a 100% legit Yale grad. He was no kid- this guy was in his mid 40s at least. I think he had some sort of nervous breakdown at another Big Law firm where he was actually an associate. As I said, he was a really weird dude and pretty much had little to no grip on reality. One time he was washing his clothes in the break-room sink and talking about how "big cotton" had JFK whacked because he was going to ban DDT. He was one funny dude. He always wanted to have a beer with my crew, but he was a little too weird to hang with outside of work.

    You see, Sullivan used to kick the coders $15 a day for food if you worked/billed more than 11 hours in a day. We'd usually head over to White Horse Tavern and just drink up the money (they had $2 McSorleys) and usually someone like Holbs would bring coke and everyone would do a bump or two, then head back to Sullivan with a nice buzz and fart around in the basement until like 2 am telling "Chuck Norris facts" to each other and maybe coding a document here and there. "Chill and bill" was the name of the game. Sullivan was like an ATM Machine for TTT grads to loaf around at, and you could easily make 3K or more a week if you wanted to sit there until 2 am every night.

    Here's a funny story- this one really preppy dude "Pat" from a good school has once been an in-house counsel at some large company, etc. Somehow he "washed out" and ended up down in the SullCrom cellar with the rest of us TTT losers. So one night at like 1 am this associate came down and asked if anyone was willing to go upstairs and vacuum/clean up the large conference room. Some geek partners from SullCroms London office were on their way from JFK for some zero-hour deal and the big conf. room was a mess from some reception earlier in the evening. All the cleaning crew were gone for the night, so it fell to the coders to go up there and clean the mess. So me & Pat volunteered and went up there and cleaned up all this dried-up food, empty glasses, papers, and other rubbish. It was pretty funny to think back on my law school days, hoping to have a nice career and actually amount to something in life. Instead I'm on the 30th floor of SullCrom at 1 am cleaning up garbage like a janitor. If you can't laugh about it, you'll quickly end up committing suicide.

    It kinda sucks having no idea when your project will end, if you'll get another one quickly, what to do if you get sick (as i said, no health ins. for temps), plus all the student loans and having to pay your own CLE and bar dues, etc. Plus you do boring, miserable dead-end work for hour upon endless hour with no hope of promotion, advancement, or positive career development.

    At lease doc review used to be an easy way to make decent $$$, but not anymore. Projects are few and far between and rates have fallen to 25-30 bucks an hour in NYC and hours are usually capped at 40. Also you get no health benefits since you're just a temp. You can buy a shitty plan from the agencies, but the minute your project ends you gotta go on COBRA which sucks too.

    Also many of the projects now require 2 or more years of "electronic discovery" experience. Gone are the days when any mouth breather from a TTT like Brooklyn, 'Bozo, NYLS, etc could just sign up with the agencies and get on a gig quick. Hell, in 2008 I was getting $45 an hour on a Dechert project doing priv. log work. Now that same gig is paying $30 flat. I don't recommend Dechert because their associates love to read verbatim from the training manual for hours on end, and also are scared shitless of the partners who are really, really nasty people. I actually had to interview with the partner before the priv log project and she was one nasty old witch. I can't imagine having to deal with her on an ongoing basis.

    1. Jesus H fucking Christ. I might have jumped from the window of that filthy conference room.

  16. The doc review stuff on here is great. It reads like Hemingway. Keep 'em coming.

    1. This is great, you should write a book. There are books by public librarians and waiters, no doubt a nonfiction collection of the dark side of law would be a page-turner.

  17. In reference to my previous posting at 5:22 above, all I can say is someone has to display the realities, the very real human cost, of The Law School Scam. Doc review is one part of it at least; even that's tightening up considerably, between off-shoring, and , yes, predictive coding as our friend mentioned above!

    I worked with some strange, strange people at Dechert. They have awesome snack machines where you can even get cereal and the snack machine pours the milk into it from a little spout. So this coder I'll call "JJ" would get his Rice Krispies in the morning, eat them at his desk, and then brush his teeth at this desk and spit the toothpaste into the empty cereal bowl and leave it there all day. It was f-ing gross. He also did push-ups like every hour under his desk, and sit-ups too. He never looked at any documents, he just downloaded Bob Dylan bootlegs all day and burned them on to CDs. He was a member of demonoid, which had all the best downloads and was always lording his demonoid password over everyone so we'd kiss his ass.

    MIND YOU, this was back in '08, before the crash.

    Plus we were getting $45 to do priv log and they put is in a separate room. The non priv log coders were in a big room and called our room the "bullpen." They were jealous of our room and would try and loiter around in there and pretend they were priv loggers too. We got $10 an hour more than them so they were pissed at that too. You see, the associate actually sat in their room and wouldn' t let them talk or surf the 'net, but our room was unsupervised so we could do whatever we wanted, which was basically anything other than work.

    One thing to remember about doc review is not to bring anything you care about to work with you, because when the project ends you are not allowed back in the building. Usually it works like this: You have no docs for 2 or 3 days and the associate claims he 'doesn't know anything' but that more docs are on the way, or being scanned/loaded, etc. So you'll leave work at say 9 pm and as you're walking to the subway the agency calls and says "Sorry, the project is over."

    See, they can't tell the coders face to face the gig is up, because many of them are insane and will download viruses into the computers, or start screaming/crying/yelling, etc. It can get very messy. So they lie and tell you there are more docs coming, etc and once you're off the property the agency calls and tells you "game over." So if you left your stuff up there, they have security bring it down to you, provided it doesn't get tossed or stolen in the meantime. I have done over 30 temp projects in NYC and every time you get canned it is after work and done via telephone.

    1. Scottie Bullock, where have you been buddy? I miss reading your prose. Your old blog "Big Debt, Small Law" was one of the most entertaining scamblogs around. Every entry made me burst with laughter but cry inside as what you said was all true. I know you are respectable lawyer now but you could make a comeback and still retain your respectable reputation. Please comeback. My favorite story that you told was the "White Snow Effect." Could you please republish that story here?

  18. I will have to say that, in many cases, the doc reviewers don't do themselves any favors by usually abusing, exploiting, or otherwise f-ing up any little privileges the firms give them.

    For example, at Paul Weiss they had a really great cafeteria called the "Jury Room." They gave the coders $10 a day in credits to use in there- it was a little card that they punched each time you used it. The prices in there were cheap- they have a grill section and you can get a small delmonico steak with 'fixins for about $7 (this was in 2005). I ate the steak every day and it was always very tasty and often downright delicious. I eat my steaks Pittsburgh rare, and the grill guy got to know me and called me "p-burg" and always made my steak just the way I liked it. We used to roll up there as a gang and play "Price is Right." In this game you have to get as close as possible to the $10 food limit w/out going over (cause you have to pay out o pocket if you exceed the $10 food card limit). Some things like salad are sold by weight, so the game can get dicey if you start loading up with croutons and such.

    The sodas, coffee etc are all free in this cafeteria. You can just grab a cup and have as much as you want. You can see where this is going. This one really dirty guy we called "Shi!Fingers" (because he never washed his hands after taking a dump- there were like 10 witnesses to this fact) goes up there to get a soda, but he's pressing on the little bar that makes the soda come out with a glass he'd already used and had like slobbered all over. So this old lady next to him says "did you already use that glass- if you did that's gross, you're getting your spit on the soda fountain." It was kinda gross, the glass had like mayo and stuff smeared all over it.

    So Shi!Fingers gets into this huge argument with her and they have it out there at the soda fountain (most of these coders have bad tempers and get offended at the drop of a hat). Turns out she was a partner- oops. So the next day the agency guy comes into the basement and says we can't use the cafeteria anymore. The agency said we would get a non-taxable $10 added to our checks so we could get food from outside. Goodbye delmonico steak- hello street meat. The only good thing about this is that we got to meet Rachel Ray- there is a really good Halal food cart at 56th st and one day her and her film crew rolled up and offered to buy everyone in line lunch who let her cut in front of them. In real life she is literally like 4 feet tall. She was also smoking a cigarette.

    The other problem with getting banned from the cafeteria was that everyone was now eating at their workstation. We were in the basement under the Rock Center, down in the bowels of the building with the furnaces and HVAC equipement, etc. With all the food garbage from like 200 coders eating down there, the place got infested with cockroaches. They were even crawling inside the computers and such. So Paul Weiss had the place roach-bombed and the day after the dead roaches were everywhere- on the keyboards, in the printers, all over the floor. Pretty gross. Even Sh!tFingers thought it was a little too dirty, even for him.

    I forgot to mention that we weren't allowed upstairs period after Sh!tFingers pissed off the partner with his soda fountain debacle. So we couldn't use the Paul Weiss bathrooms- we had to use the public bathroom in the Rock Center. It only had one stall and a homeless dude named "Bones" pretty much lived in there and would holler "i'm in here motherfucker" every time you went to take a leak. So everyone started using the Heartland Breweries bathroom, which was pretty dirty too.

    1. You are a natural storyteller and I'm dying laughing how funny your anecdotes about doc review. I practiced for less than a year for a jabba the hutt looking motherfucker and I'm getting out of the profession and don't care anymore. Law sucks, I tell everyone I meet I'm a failed lawyer and law sucks. If I ever have a kid they are never, ever going to law school. I'd pay em to not go. Law school is a scam.


    Back on November 12, 2013, Paul Campos authored a stellar Lawyers, Guns & Money piece labeled “80% to 85% of ABA law schools are currently losing money.” Take a look at the following portion:

    “Over the past few months I’ve studied the current operating budgets of a representative sample of the nation’s 202 ABA-accredited law schools (there are several dozen non-ABA law schools in America, mostly in California, whose operations I know nothing about).

    I acquired these budgets via various routes, including asking schools for them, open records requests, tax filings, and private communications with individuals. Law school budgets are somewhat arcane documents, both because each school has its own accounting , and because most schools are located within universities. The latter fact creates various complexities in regard to measuring what are known in the business as “indirect expenses” — that is, university-wide operating expenses that must be distributed among the institution’s various schools and colleges.

    Nevertheless, it’s possible to get a tolerably accurate picture of a law school’s true financial situation via budget documents, since most schools get almost all their operating revenue from two sources: tuition and gift income (the latter comes in the form of endowment income and annual giving). Indeed at most law schools tuition revenue accounts for the vast majority of operating resources — only a few schools get even 20% of their revenue from gifts. The exception to this generalization is provided by the increasingly small number of public law schools that still get some sort of significant subsidy from tax dollars. I address this complication below.

    As for expenses, these tend to be both homogenous and fixed, consisting largely of personnel compensation, in a context in which serious downsizing of labor costs can’t be undertaken without declaring a fiscal emergency — a move which has serious reputational costs — and physical plant operation. Costs that can as a matter of institutional politics be treated as variable — for example, library subscriptions, adjunct faculty, and low-status staff — are by comparison relatively small.

    Furthermore, law schools tend, even in the best of times, to budget on the assumption that they will spend almost all the revenue they expect to generate. This is a natural consequence of the obsession with law school rankings. It’s important to realize that this obsession provides the key ideological justification for law school budgetary practices. Law schools “must” spend more money in real terms every year because other law schools are spending more money every year. This is the all-purpose justification for hiking nominal tuition in real terms every year: we have to raise tuition because we have to spend more money, because otherwise we’ll fall behind in the competition for a crucial positional good.”

  20. Now, to his conclusion:

    "Over the past couple of year[s], the disjunction between the cost of law school and the marginal economic benefit provided by a law degree has become sufficiently self-evident that the market for places at ABA law schools has begun to collapse. Schools have slashed both enrollment qualifications and real tuition (via semi-invisible discounts), yet first-year enrollment is down nearly 25% since 2010, and real tuition revenue is down by nearly that much (because over the past three years increases in nominal tuition have, it appears, only slightly outstripped increases in off-sticker discounting).

    My survey of law school budgets suggests that, on average, law school revenues will be down this fiscal year by about 15% in real terms from where they were three years ago. Costs, meanwhile, have not decreased by the same amount — if anything, they are slightly higher (as of now the rankings struggle continues unabated). Very few law schools were running 15% operating surpluses three years ago, which means that the large majority of law schools — I estimate between 80% and 85% — are incurring significant operating deficits in the present fiscal year.

    Note that this estimate is conservative, in that it treats state tax subsidization at public schools as operating revenue rather than an operating subsidy. It is also conservative in that it assumes that no universities maintain long-term budgetary policies that require their law schools to provide subsidies to the rest of the campus, in the form of significant revenue over expenses (aka, the infamous “cash cow” model of legal education)."

    Univer$itie$ and college$ have historically relied on law schools as cash cows. Now that many of these toilets are actually requiring infusions of cash from the main endowment, it will be interesting to see how many academic in$titution$ are keen on providing a “legal education.”

    In sum, the secret is out with regard to law school: the “education” is too damn expensive; it does not adequately – of even remotely – train one how to practice law; and there are nowhere near enough legal jobs for graduates. At this point, only mental midgets and the WILLFULLY IGNORANT will fall prey to the trash pits and dung heaps.

    I expect the law school swine to lobby the state bar examiners to make the test easier to pass, in order to compensate for dumber graduating classes. However, if this is done, then the general public will soon discover that MANY licensed attorneys are idiots. See what that does to the last remnants of supposed prestige for this garbage “profession.” The pigs are in a serious bind.

  21. The worst thing these "schools" are doing right now is marketing themselves to unsuspecting kids who have no greater likelihood of practicing law in a meaningful way that a common housecat does.

    I cannot emphasize enough the importance of actually spending time in a real law firm during undergraduate for a relevant length of time to see what lawyers really do on a day in, day out basis. These kids who go for this nonsensical ElleWoods stuff are in for a big surprise when they find out just how nasty the average sh!tlaw client is, let alone the attorneys!

  22. In relation to my previous post at 1:40, seriously, the only thing I could really come up with that I miss about doc review (other than we at least were able to make some quick cash) was that cafeteria at Paul Weiss, at least while it was open to us TTT grads. I wax nostalgic.

    Anyway, that was a JD project- you didn't have to be admitted to work the gig. Because of that we only got $21 an hour. Most everyone there was waiting to get admitted to NY, because the minute you did you could jump to a SullCrom gig which paid $32 an hour plus OT. I got admitted right after the roach bomb, and was at SullCrom the day after getting NY Bar admission up in Albany. After Paul Weiss, the SullCrom cellar was like a 5 star hotel. At Sullivan the coders had their own bathroom, break rooms, and even a little kitchen to use. That makes a lot of sense. It's kind of like "steerage" on those old ships- hell, would you want a dirty old TTT coder coming upstairs to use the firm's associate-level facilities? Of course not. Sullivan thus gives their coders their own little basement "world" which they never have to leave.

    It was really funny one day about 3 years ago when I was starting a gig at SullCrom. My project was starting the same day that the SA class was starting, and they had this big reception table set up in the lobby with 'Welcome Class of '08" or whatever for the kids from real schools they were hiring. I went up to the table and told them I was there for the doc review gig- they actually told me to wait outside and they'd come get us when the SA's had cleared the lobby! God forbid a TTT grad contaminate their incoming class!

    Later in the day they took all the SA's to the basement (I think they were getting a grand tour of the firm) and the associate was telling them "these are all just temps." The SA's looked at us like we were animals in a zoo or something, it was degrading in kind of a funny way though. In doc review you work at whatever spare broom closet, furnace room, or other hovel they stick you in (Manhattan office space is pricey and why waste good $$$ on space for TTT loser temps?) On big projects you literally sit elbow-to-elbow with each other, for up to 16 hours a day. You also have to use the beat-up old furniture from the 1970s that really belongs in a dumpster. Its very much like prison, with everyone so cramped into small spaces and tensions all flaring up. Chairs are a big, big deal- sometimes a wiseass newbie will try and switch his chair with a "veteran's" chair if he gets their early that day or something. Big mistake. You see, since the furniture is all pretty much garbage, there's a real pecking order as to who gets the "best of the worst" when it comes to chair allocation. Most of the time the backrest or the swivel (or both) are broken, so if you end up with a decent chair you hang on to it for dear life. If the staff attorney or supervisor moves your seat for talking too much or causing problems, you have the right to take that chair with you to your new workstation- it's part of the "unwritten code" of the temps. I have literally seen fistfights start over people trying to nab chairs that didn't belong to them.

  23. Nando,

    Did you see this? The Department of Education fined Corinthian Colleges $30 million for misrepresenting its graduates' employment prospects. To save you time, jump down to the four bullet points and you'll see that all Corinthian did is EXACTLY what law schools have always done!

    Let's hope that after the DoE starts to look at toilet law schools soon.

    1. Ok, seriously people. Write your congressional reps about this. I've been harassing mine and my state's senior senator about once every 6 months with basically the same letter. Nothing will change unless they begin to equate Doing Nothing with Losing Votes.

    2. Why don't you post up the letter you are using?

    3. More of the same

      If DOE had the same standards for law schools, dozens would close.

    4. Dear Sir/Madam:

      I am writing to call your attention to a growing problem with American law schools.

      As you may be aware, law school graduates have been facing a difficult job market the last several years. In fact, barely more than half of law school graduates are able to secure jobs as lawyers, and even those lucky graduates are not earning nearly enough money to cover the ongoing expense of student loans, which routinely now run in excess of $150,000 for the typical law student.

      As these loans are guaranteed by federal taxpayer dollars, the growing unlikelihood of repayment represents a liability to public funds. Furthermore, the easy and virtually unlimited access to federal credit in the form of student loans has allowed law schools to wildly increase tuition.

      Antonin Scalia reported that his tuition in 1960 was $1,000. According to the inflation calculator, that is $8,000 in today's money. Tuition at top schools today runs as high as $60,000 a year, and is barely cheaper at lower ranked schools.

      I call this to your attention, and request that you explore options for real oversight over who gets student loans for law school, what schools they can be applied towards, and caps or limits on the total amount borrowed, in order to protect the public coffers and make absolutely clear to the ABA and the law schools that it accredits that economic reform of the legal education industry is required.


    5. Good for shit..

      These legislators are bought and paid for. They simply say whatever the public wants to hear to get them elected or reelected to office then do exactly what their backers desire. Secondly, it doesn't matter if one is voted out and another is put in. All candidates are owned.

    6. @1006,

      LOL, I've been emailing my Congressman every DAY, asking him to send me a shiny new trillion-dollar Obamapenny. It's made out of platinum, and they actually considered minting one during some budget impasse a couple years back. Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman (a fool if there ever was one) actually claimed that doing this would not "add to inflation" in any way whatsoever. If that is true, it would be grossly irresponsible for them NOT to make a trillion-dollar coin for every single man, woman, and child in America. So I'll keep demanding mine. If I get it, I'll use part of it to pay off my student loan - but how will they make change?

      Anyway, all I'm saying is that writing/emailing your Congressman isn't going to accomplish anything!

  24. In reference to my doc review experiences at 5:50 above:

    The worst thing about the legal industry is how mind-numbingly boring the work is. For example, on the Dechert case where I did the priv. log, the case was (from what we were told as temps) about some audit of all these complex credit-swap "deals." Each deal had a code name like "Peachtree" or "Applewood" or other fruit-inspired names.

    The training session for this was the day before Thanksgiving 2008, and we sat in a small conference room with the associate from 9:30 am until 10 o'clock that night going over a huge Powerpoint presentation all about the tr-lateral sub agreements, addendums to the agreements, etc etc. Take the most boring thing you've ever read or done in life and multiply it by 10,000, and that will give a rough idea of how boring most Biglaw cases are, even for the associates. This associate was like 29 going on 60. The dood told us he hadn't slept in like 4 days and was going to miss Thanksgiving for the 3rd year in a row, etc. Those years and memories he will never get back. I really do hope the $$ is worth it to him, because he struck me as someone depresssed to the point of suicide.

    Toward the tail end of my coding career, I actually had the chance to become a "perma-temp" case anaylst at Weill Gotshall. My ex-GF grew up in Manhattan and her two best friends (a husband and wife) worked there as 4th year associates. They both absolutely despised (not just merely hated) their jobs, but as usual got way overboard with a huge apartment, a maid/nanny, etc and couldn't afford to quit. They offered to get me in their as a staff attorney on a doc review gig they were running, which was going to last over a year.

    It was depressing hanging with them, since we all graduated law school the same year (albeit they both from Columbia), and were all technically "lawyers." Yet I would never be anything more than a dead-end lackey at the firm, a 4th class loser on par with the janitor or restroom attendant. I tried to explain this to my non-lawyer GF, but she just didn't "get" it. She was like "oh, won't it be great to work with Mike and Kate at a big firm?" She had no idea (and they were too nice to tell her) that I was going to be in the basement and have no future at the place. So one night I got drunk and told her how we were NEVER going to have anything, and the best I could ever do was probably 65-75 K a year and no health insurance. Since she wanted kids, she dumped me shortly thereafter.

    So yes, the pain of not "making it" in this industry can indeed bleed over and ruin almost every aspect of your life. It sure did for me. It's not that I'm jealous of people like them who make the big $$$, just "awkward" since they knew damn well what I was and the type of "lawyer" (if that's what you want to call it) I would always be. They were very nice people and never in any way condescended or berated me in any way, but that sting is just always kind of "there," you know?

  25. Corinthian College, cancel the debt!

  26. Another funny thing about doc review in that era was that you could get "promoted" on long term (like 3 or 4 month projects) to QC (quality control) or "second level review," which means you double-check the work of the regular coders on some sort of random audit basis. That way you can't just "green light" the shitty or non-existent coding of your friends (you see, there used to be projects in the more primitive days of software where you could "batch code"- this is where you hold down CTRL and just mark a whole batch of docs "non-responsive" w/out even opening or reading them). It was great b/c you could do like 100 docs in 10 seconds and then surf the Internet or bullshit for the other 59 minutes of the hour. But the firms wised up to this and can now see how much time you spent on each doc, etc and get all other kinds of stool pigeon software to abuse and monitor the temps. That technique is long gone.

    Usually you got this QC "promotion" by being a hot chick or; alternatively, not constantly falling asleep and/or drooling on your keyboard. It helps not to cause all kinds of problems either like complaining the room is too hot or chewing up all the pens, etc. Sometimes it's just plain dumb luck- they would spin the "Wheel O' Coders" and your number popped up.

    You didn't get any extra $$$ to be a QC coder, but you often would get to hang on a few extra days after the gig wraps up to finish any stray docs and double-check docs that might actually be responsive (though almost none are- would you trust TTT coders with anything potentially important? enough said).

    So I was on this huge doc review for a pharma tort case and somehow got promoted to QC. One day the staff attorney tells me to go help this old bald Indian dude who called himself "Gandhi" (like prison, most people in doc review had "street names" while on project, in case you haven't noticed). He was a really nice guy and was saving money so he could retire in India. His wife was already over there scouting out houses, etc. His real name was impossible to pronounce unless you have a certain kind of tongue or something, according to him.

  27. Glutted field?

    Did you all see this yet?

  28. Corinthian Colleges, a diploma mill on par with Uni of Phoenix is shutting down due to being found ineligible for recieving federal student loan money.

  29. I'm realizing that it's more than law school deans. It's many lawyers in general. They all lied. The whole bunch of them.

    I started law school in 2010. Many people told me that it was a versatile degree, and it was good to have. And many of those people were lawyers. How could they tell me that with a straight face? In the short time I've been a lawyer, I've single-handedly deterred a half-dozen potential law students. I emphatically tell them DO NOT DO IT. But these people lied to me.

    I mostly just regret the time that I spent studying and "doing well" during highschool and college. Now, I still had a decent life then, a bunch of friends and stuff. But, wow, if I spent more time NOT doing school work and if I broke a few more rules, I really could have been a lot "cooler." I could have enjoyed myself alot better. Just so many missed opportunities.

    I guess I hate my parents too. They pushed me to get good grades, to be a lawyer. Grades are the stupidest thing ever. If I could go back in time, I'd follow the "C's get degrees" mantra. Just thinking about the times that I forewent (is that a word?) an activity or something because I had to study. And just the other things I wasn't thinking about enough (e.g. girls) becasue my mind was focused on writing some stupid paper or doing stupid math problems. I mean, I am honesty WORSE OFF now than all my friends that barely made it out of school.

    And these are all experiences I can never get back.

    In sum, it's not just law school. It's higher education in general. College is great because it's fun. I remember in college believing the mantra that "you can learn all your classes in college by just going to your public library for a week." I genuinely believe that, but I would never diss college because it's so much fun. But law school isn't fun. It sucks. The only reason to go is so you don't have to wake up 9-5. And that's not a good reason, you're a billion times better off being a bartender if you want to wake up late.

    But wow. My life sucks now. I just don't know why I ever worked hard at anything.

    1. If it makes you feel better, most people around the world have sucky lives. In the US the standard of living was much higher, but that is beginning to erode.

      This is actually NORMAL!

      The student loans, high housing prices, large credit and all of that other stuff will likely be pretty much gone in a decade or two, as the pathetic "wealth" of the Millennial generation can't support it.

      Anyways, can't change the past. Fortunately, if you really want to, picking up girls is as easy as hitting the gym and then getting drunk in places with people with loose morals of both sexes. Good luck, I guess.


  31. Bigger problem was, apparently Gandhi had zero experience using computers, which isn't exactly great news when your job involves using one 16 hours a day. According to the staff attorney, all of the PDF docs that Gandhi was doing redactions on were seriously screwed up, with like half the page blacked out. Rather than "redactions," Gandhi's docs looked like random graffiti or modern art or whatever. Furthermore, his redactions were over parts of the page that were blank to begin with, so something was seriously wrong.

    So I go to his workstation to see what's going on and have him pull up a PDF doc. He does and the doc is displayed on the screen sideways. I tell him to rotate the doc and Gandhi grabs hold of the whole computer monitor (this was pre-flat screen) and starts trying to turn the entire rig sideways. It was mounted on one of those swivel, ball-joint type bases (remember those?). Before I could tell him that he didn't need to move the monitor upside down and shit, somehow the wires from his monitor unplugged the computer of the chick sitting next to him (as I said, everyone sits elbow to elbow and there are wires all over the place, and like 500 things plugged into one outlet, etc).

    So the screen of the chick next to home goes dark, and she starts going utterly batshit crazy and says "This guy is a terrorist, I can't fucking stand him- he does this like 50 times a day! " She was livid and said 'he shouldn't fucking be here if he can't use a computer" and things of that nature. I guess it never occurred to her to investigate why Gandhi turned his monitor extremely sideways like 200 times a day, but coders aren't always the most helpful or cordial people. This chick in particular had a reputation for being really aggressive, and for some reason she had like a hundred Bic lighters all over her work table and used to chew on them, etc. They were all gnawed down like those toys you give a gerbil or whatever.

  32. Anyway, Gandhi got really offended that she called him a "terrorist" (this was back when the Iraq war was still big news and such). He was threatening to report her to the staff attorney for racial slurs, etc, and the whole situation was becoming a huge scene. I crawled under the table to try and get the wires plugged back in while the two of them were having at it. It got out of hand pretty quickly and Gandhi starts marching up and knocking on the staff attorneys door.

    I got the computers back up and running and like 2 minutes later the staff attorney comes out and calls the chick into the office to get her side of the story. Then like 2 minutes later the aggressive chick storms out, grabs all her lighters and shit off the table, says "Fuck you" to me, and rolls off the project. These randomly aggressive incidents are actually pretty common on doc review, so it wasn't really as big a deal as it would be at a normal job. In fact, my definition of "normal" is now so screwed up I could probably never return to any type of legitimate office environment.

    Another funny guy on this project we used to call 'Sloshburg" because he showed up for work reeking of booze every day. One time he came back from lunch all lit up and started turning the lights on and off and like "breathing on people" and such. We're talking heavy Stage IV alcoholism here. He was always bragging about this million-dollar injury case he was "this close" to settling, and how as soon as it came through he was leaving doc review for good. It wasn't unusual. Many coders suffer from what I call "Willy Lohman" syndrome- their grip on reality and their place in the economic pecking order is just totally lost on them. There isn't a coder alive without a stack of cheesy Vista-Print business cards with all sorts of official titles and such like "Law Office of Thomas Montgomery Coder, Attorney and Counselor at Law, Master of Chancery, King's Bench, Member of the Bar, Juris Doctor, Esquire." It's like some kind of closet "prestige injection" for them, apparently. I think one guy even has his LSAT score on his card, but it was probably like a 149 or whatever.

    These cards are of course for their "side practices," which involve getting their brothers/moms/relatives etc. out of speeding tickets and other occasional rinky-dink stuff. What's really funny is that almost all of them use the same Regus mail-drop company in NYC as their "office address," and when they swap cards they'll say things like "oh, our practices are in the same building" and act all important for a few minutes. It gets depressing after awhile seeing these fools carry on this pathetic charade on project after project. The only time I ever had business cards was when I was an associate at the personal injury shop, and they were those cheesy ones from Staples that come on perforated cardstock sheets to print yourself. About a week after I started working there the secretary printed them up and left a stack on my desk. I'd carry the whole sheets in my little briefcase and if someone wanted a card I just ripped one off the sheet, like a dispenser. It was kind of handy, really.

  33. A really useful read, thanks for posting..


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