Wednesday, May 6, 2015

According to Steven J. Harper, 89 ABA-Accredited Law Schools Offer Problematic Submarket Employment Prospects

Your Commode “Serves” Which SubmarkeTTT?: On May 5, 2015, ATL published an article entitled “We Would Be Better Off If 30 Law Schools Close.” The author is Brian Dalton. Starting from the second paragraph:

“In Steven J. Harper’s recent article, The Real Moral Hazard: Law Schools Exploiting Market Dysfunction (also discussed on ATL here), he details how misguided bankruptcy policy and unlimited, indiscriminate federal student loans have isolated schools from any accountability. In laying out his case, Harper describes how law schools actually operate in distinct submarkets. He identifies three of these submarkets, each offering drastically different employment prospects for their graduates: 

1. National schools
2. Regional schools
3. The “Problematic Submarket” 

By Harper’s reckoning, there are 89 law schools in that third category. Generally speaking, most graduates of the Problematics are simply not finding work as lawyers. Thirty-four of these schools place fewer than 40% of graduates in full-time, long-term jobs requiring a J.D.; 13 have placed less than one-third of their grads in FTLT-JD positions. “The differing employment prospects for new graduates should be producing different economic consequences across the law school submarkets,” Harper drily notes. Should, but don’t. The law school market defies basic principles of economics, both macro- (e.g., price and supply have increased in the face of falling demand) and micro- (e.g., the cost of a legal degree is roughly the same across all submarkets). 

Almost wistfully, Harper imagines what an “unimpeded market response” would look like: the Problematics would be forced to “innovate dramatically, slash tuition, and/or close their doors.” Alas, none of that has happened. Instead the weakest schools have opened their gates ever wider and continued to jack up tuition. Harper’s prescription for this market dysfunction includes linking a law school’s eligibility for the 100% federal guarantee for its students’ loans to employment outcomes. If a school meets a fixed minimum threshold (he suggests 55%) for placing its graduates in FTLT-JD positions, then it would qualify for the full federal guarantee. Below that threshold, the percentage of the guarantee would adjust downward on a sliding scale.” [Emphasis mine]

This is essentially common knowledge. However, tens of thousands of morons each year continue to delude themselves into thinking that THEY will overcome the odds and make it in the shrinking legal field. We are talking about college graduates, people. That speaks volumes about “higher education,” does it not? 

Who in the hell would willingly, knowingly incur an additional $130K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt, for a chance to practice toiletlaw?! People this damn dumb cannot be entrusted with the responsibility of going to the grocery store to pick up eggs and milk. Hell, these dolts are more likely to go out and piss away $500 on comic books and forget the food items.

From the Abstract: On April 1, 2015, Mr. Harper’s research paper, “Bankruptcy and Bad Behavior – the Real Moral Hazard: Law Schools Exploiting Market Dysfunction,” appeared in the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review. The full article is 19 pages long. However, you can gain some insight from this portion of the abstract alone:

“The widespread discussion about the market for law graduates ignores an essential fact: it's not a single market at all. Employment opportunities vary dramatically across schools, yet tuition prices fail to reflect those differences. As a consequence, many schools with the worst placement rates burden their students with the highest levels of educational debt. How is that possible? 

The answer is market dysfunction. Current federal student loan and bankruptcy policies encourage all law school deans to maximize tuition and fill classrooms, regardless of their students' job prospects upon graduation. This law school moral hazard combines with prelaw students' unrealistic expectations about their legal careers to produce enormous debt for a JD degree that, for many graduates, does not even lead to a JD-required job.” [Emphasis mine]

The garbage pits can essentially charge what they want, since mental midgets with a pulse can take out the full amount in student loans – without any regard to their job outlook. I suppose you can’t blame the pigs for taking advantage of taxpayers and law students. It’s not as if they ever gave a damn about those people anyway.

Conclusion: If you are still considering law school today, and you are not: (a) wealthy; or (b) attending a top 3-5 law school, then you are taking a ridiculous gamble with YOUR financial future. By the way, if you cannot look out for your own best interest, then who else is going to do that for you, Dumbass? Simply put, you will not be served well by taking out outrageous sums of NON-DISCHARGEABLE loans, for a law degree from a second tier sewer or third tier commode. 

In the event that you are enrolling in a fourth tier trash heap, your best hope is toiletlaw or legal aid. Try paying back your MASSIVE student loans on those miniscule salaries. If you take this route, then you may end up fighting off skid row bums for their day-old newspaper – so that you can wipe your ass with the damn thing. In all seriousness, when you attend low-ranked cesspools, your future is LIMITED to pathetic jobs the moment you enter law school. You will see the occasional dumb rich kid – who couldn’t get into a real school – walking the halls of these toilets. However, you are not in their shoes, i.e. your judge or successful businessman father cannot make a few phone calls and get you a nice position.


  1. He's half right. "Bankruptcy policies" have nothing to do with the ability of TTTTs to withstand market forces. It's all because of the nigh-unlimited loans that they keep making to any mouth-breather who wants one.

  2. The 30 law schools closing are a good start initially. But, there will have to be another 30 and then 30 more to correct the massive unemployment and underemployment presently existing. It is also interesting that the worst law schools are also the ones that tend to overcharge. No loss to society if they close.

  3. Insanely good article and one that I am going to use in my (usually very poorly received) tweets at lemmings who joyfully announce an intent to apply to law school on Twitter. It's kind of a hobby of mine as a taxpayer.

    Another way to come at this problem would be to establish a different name for the attorneys who are qualified for and aim at a BigLaw practice, kind of like the difference between solicitors and barristers in the UK (yes, yes, I know these titles have nothing to do with BigLaw in the UK, but rather corporate vs litigation practices). Nonetheless, if a different category were established for that, then the law schools could stop pulling the wool over the mathematically challenged by citing mean salary data for the whole group.

    1. love your work @ LSL!! -- interesting that as poorly r'cvd as some of your tweets are by lemmings, the rest of us in this community appreciate them very much. You illustrate why our work is not over. Kudos.

  4. Guys... Hold on.... You must follow your dreams... Slaving away at a non law job just to earn a pay check is soul crushing, while you are surviving you will question
    the meaning of life and come to understand... you should find another occupation that helps others.

    I will try the smart route and go to a low cost law school to relies my dream in criminal law. Defending others will
    be more satisfying.

    A major shout out to the HCBU's Southern Law Center, FAMU Law, Texas Southern Law School!!! Low cost ... Let's make it happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. "your best hope is . . . legal aid" ??

    In some places, the legal aid office requires as high as a 3.5 GPA. Most law schools grade at 3.0 or lower. Therefore, legal aid is reserved for "top" students.

  6. These scam hackademics are looking to shear Lemmings like sheep. The resulting financial impact of non-dischargeable debt? Disasterous..

    PSLF? By all accounts, this looks like it will be capped for new borrowers. Do you Lemmings really think that the remaining $60k will be easy to pay off? Ah.. if that were only true. Most people live paycheck to paycheck. The debt will capitalize and you'll be right back to where you started. In other words, it will *never* be paid off. Sure, after 25 years, the remaining balance will be forgiven (as things stand now..) but then you get the Tax Bomb.. This, I'm supposing, because you would continue on PAYE.

    Getting the picture, idiots?

    No one but you is looking out for your financial interests. On the contrary, they are looking to put you into life-changing debt for their benefit. In other words, mortgage your future for their immediate gain. These hackademics lead a fine upper-middle class lifestyle - at Lemmings' espense. Got it? It ain't hard... unless your 21-23, naive, think the World cares about right and justice and - most of all - willfully blind and can't or won't do your research.

    There is no excuse today. Not with the resources of the Internet at your fingertips. The information is out there and accessible.

    Don't fuck up..

  7. It is unclear why Congress and the President do not understand the perverse inflationary massive student debt inducing market distorting federal loan policies.

    Law schools are the poster child for the multitude of problems the federal student loan system has created.

    However, colleges with their government-ballooned tuition that is bankrupting a generation of students and parents are not that far behind.

    It is like the Emperor's New Clothes. How are our leaders so blind?

    1. No, wrong. The federal government understands exactly what it is doing, it just does not give a fuck about its citizens. It has been bought, period.

      Think I am kidding? Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation just resigned from being "Laureate Education" spokewshores - Laureate is a filthy for-profit trying to go IPO that hocks art institute degrees and culinary programs internationally.

      Do you know who heads up Laureate Education? The very same man who started Sterling Partners - aka the InfiLaw Scam. Douglas Becker. His brother, Eric Becker, is the senior managing director of Sterling Partners.

      So, we have the presumptive Democratic nominee for President whose husband has taken millions of dollars from the InfiScammers, and you think it's a fucking accident that politicians are funneling 150 billion per year in 'student loans' direct to schools?

      It is not an accident.

    2. The see it, they just don't care. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Legal education in the past twenty or so years has devolved into a giant scam and the bill is coming due soon. The government is going to have to eat the shitty loans they underwrote. We have no ability to pay them back. Rage against the machine.

    3. @344,

      The only time the government would "have to eat the loans" would be when the debtor died.

      The government CHOSE to allow a 20 or 25 year loan forgiveness period through IBR - it was voluntary.

      As far as I can tell, the balance on those loans could be outstanding for the entire life of the debtor. The 25 year IBR forgiveness is an extremely generous gift - and it's one that the government didn't have to make - but certain ingrates are still crying and asking for an immediate bailout.

      Of course, the idea of working and paying the money back (or even attempting to do so) is completely off the table - unless, that is, some fantasy employer kicks down your Goddamn DOOR, grabs you, and whisks you away to a job that pays you $500,000 to goof off and watch YouTube videos all day. Most bums hate to work, and they are also EXQUISITELY "picky" about which jobs are the right "fit" for them.

      Fuck those deadbeats - they and the law school pigs would BOTH be unjustly enriched by loan forgiveness. If the student loans are forgiven, two things will happen the very next morning: (1) law school tuition will probably skyrocket to $100 million per student per year, and (2) I will immigrate to a tax haven in Europe and stop paying my fucking taxes.

      What people don't seem to understand is that the deadbeat debtors and the law school pigs want to team up so that they BOTH can rape the taxpayers.

    4. It's obvious why the gov does not recognize it:

      1. It would mean actually regulating the universities through a public mechanism (like Europe or Canada), focusing on supply-demand of graduates as opposed to profit maximization. The commercialization of colleges goes way beyond grad inflation--what is published, researched is purely based on revenue flows. This is why scholarcrap is bad in all departments. Even in science, much of the research is tainted by corporate or think tank money.

      2. This country can't differentiate between productive enterprise and scam. If it brings dollars, it's legitimate. Gov's role in our society s facilitating profits to the big players. Now that the economy is deindustrialized, big ed is big business and one of the players.

  8. And remember that Steven Harper is a practicing attorney. When the law school thugs threaten him with lawsuits, he knows enough to laugh in their fat, ugly faces.

  9. Harper is an elegant, eminent, knowledgeable commentator, and wit.

    Failure to head his words leads to failure.


    38 year solo. Cincinnatus

  10. Is Charleston Law among the 89? Because it looks like they will be announcing their non-enrollment of new students / closure next week:

  11. ^
    'The college has been in turmoil since owners in 2013 announced that a sale to InfiLaw was in the works. Many students, faculty and members of the state’s legal community are opposed to a sale to InfiLaw because they think the company’s three law schools have lower standards than the Charleston school. Becoming an InfiLaw school will decrease the value of a Charleston School of Law degree, they have said.'

    You can decrease the value of shit? Really??

  12. Here's another sh!tlaw story: In NYC, when you settle an injury case for a minor under 18, the judge has to approve the settlement and review its terms, etc. If the judge thinks its a shit deal, they can void the settlement and force you to trial. It's called an "Infant Compromise Order" and these appearances are very dicey, since so many PI firms are sleazy and try to inflate phantom "expenses" and other stuff to grab a few extra $$$ from the kiddies.

    The judge sets up the bank account for the child directly, and NO ONE can touch a dime of the loot without court order once deposited. Esp. not the parents, who would of course piss it away in 5 minutes if given the chance.

    So I roll into this Infant Comp hearing in the Bronx one day and find the clients ( a 9 year old kid) and his dad sitting on the bench outside the courtroom. Dad is a real gang-banger- gold tooth, gang tatts, scars, etc. He greeted me by saying "Where the fuck is Mister X?" (my boss).

    I told him I worked for Mr. X and was there to cover the appearance and explain the settlement terms to him. This was a "heavy" case (in PI lingo anything worth north of 100 K is called a "heavy case" fyi.) The kid had lead poisoning from eating the flakes & stuff like potato chips in whatever housing project they called home. Anything over a 10 is a high lead reading, this kid had a 64 and had suffered permanent brain damage and learning disabilities, etc. The settlement was around 450 K, so the kid would take home 300 K after our fee.

    So the dad says "Did you bring my check" and I told him "that's not how it works, the judge puts the money in a bank account until the kid turns 18."

    Oh boy was this guy pissed. I forgot to mention he had an Escalade brochure in his hand and apparently planned a visit to the Cadillac dealership right after court. He said he needed a car to drive the kid to day care, and how he was going to explain all of that to the judge. I told him it was highly unlikely that the judge would let him buy a luxury SUV with his kid's brain damage money, but this guy wanted no part of listening. He already had put his headphones back on.

    There was no way I could let this settlement get voided. You see, in Sh!tlaw every single thing that ever goes wrong is all YOUR fault. There is also absolutely no training whatsoever, it is "sink or swim" from day one. Questions are not encouraged, since these guys have to spend every working minute scrounging for and signing up new cases, and settling old ones. Asking questions is a quick way to get canned, I saw it happen to about a dozen guys in the year and a half I worked there.

    Thank God it turned out this guy wasn't even the kid's real father or guardian. The judge's clerk asked for his ID before the hearing and, seeing a different last name, asked a few questions. Turns out he was the mom's current boyfriend and she sent him over there to pick up the check. He started getting loud and all, so the bailiff came over and they bounced outta there real quick. I told the clerk to re-calendar the thing and we'd try to track down the mother for the next appearance.

    So back at the office I get screamed at for not "following up" and getting the mom into court. I told him that I only learned of the appearance yesterday and was in deposition until 5 pm and had left a message on their machine, etc. He said next time to use "Sherlock."

    But that's another story.

    1. Loving these stories!

  13. There should maybe be 30 total law schools in the country. And a lawyer match service. That is, if anybody is actually serious about providing access to justice with skilled professionals.


    On April 30, 2015 at 9:32 am, JDU poster “therewillbeblood” started a thread labeled “The Real Moral Hazard: Law Schools Exploiting Market Dysfunction.” Look at his analysis:

    “Interesting article from Steven Harper (from the Lawyer Bubble blog) in the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review[…]


    His proposal is to link the amount of money a student can borrow to the employment outcomes of the school. Goes into a nice bit of detail on how this can be done, and the DoE's authority to do so.

    The second-to-last paragraph:

    "Perhaps deans, administrators, and faculty in the weakest submarkets believe their own press releases, namely, that a law degree from their school is worth what they are charging students. If so, tying federal loan guarantees to outcomes should not bother them. If optimistic predictions of a general surge in the demand for lawyers are correct—and apply to all prospective law students at every school—even the weakest schools in the Problematic Submarket should have nothing to fear. Such a rising tide would lift even the most leaky boats. Consumers will flock to their product because it offers value, not because a federal subsidy creates moral hazard that encourages marginal law schools to engage in bad behavior that fills classrooms and maximizes revenues."

    On May 5, 2015, at 2:13 am, user “2ashamed2showmyface” wrote this response:

    “Great concept. Trouble is, no dean at any school will ever admit their esteemed academy is part of a "problematic submarket[.]"’

    This is right on point. No law school pig will ever admit to running a cesspool that limits its students and graduates to putrid, pathetic-paying jobs. Hell, even the cockroaches at Cooley, Crooklyn, Pace and Infilaw act as if their JDs are landing good positions. After all, they want to trick the next batch of suckers into enrolling in their toilet.

  15. There are much better ways to make money than being a lawyer. My cousin got his 4 year accounting degree from State U two years ago. He had a brief stint in the military in there too. Anyway, he came out making $55K for a small firm. Now he's making $70K. The digital age hasn't affected accountants as much as it has other professions. It seems digital records have made their jobs easier but you still need trained human eyes to make sure everything's on the up and up. Now he's getting ready to put down money on a nice (and reasonable) condo. My neighbor's in his late 20s and he's a sales manager. The guy drives a high end Audi and always has the best clothes. And neither of these young guys had to take out a shit ton of loans to make good money either.

  16. Hofstra started its night program ten years ago to take advantage of the above situation. It admitted part-time students to its night program to fund bait and switch scholarships for full-time students with high indicators. Then part-time students didn't count toward a school's gpa and lsat for us news rankings. Many of the full-time students lost their "conditional" scholarships through the above practices. Many students thought there was section stacking but no one could prove it. In any case Hofstra's scam may have been the worse of any law school's.

  17. Kids, in sh!tlaw, it's hard enough just adjusting to the kind of clientele you're going to have, it really is. That's why if you're going to pursue law, you really should spend some time in a sh!tlaw shop back in undergrad to see if this is really what you want to do. For many, it will be the reality.

    You see, it's very hard to keep tabs on injury clients, since many are in gangs, homeless, moving around public housing etc. When you finally get a fucking settlement, the work has only just begun because you then have to track these losers down and have them sign the release. So we used this shady "private eye" named Sherlock who was a former NY cop who I think did some jail time in the 80s. Sherlock's trick was to put word out "on the street" that the client had won millions in cash and had to show up at the courthouse at 9 am to have the claim form notarized. It was a great trick to get them in there, but not much fun when you have to explain that in fact they're getting 9 K for a herniated disc from their fender-bender.

    Oh, those were the days. BTW don't go getting all excited about signing up lead paint cases. That horse long ago limped off to the glue factory. You see, almost ALL the NYC lead cases were against an insurance carrier named Firemen's Fund, who insured all the public housing in NYC and a lot of ghetto private properties. Some genius left the lead paint policy exclusion out of almost every policy written in 2000-2001, so it started a sh!tlaw feeding frenzy once word got out. My boss scored millions on this stuff by having doorknob-hanger ads made up and hung from every crackhouse & hovel in NYC. Some lawyers were even having runners scrape lead paint off abandoned buildings and dumping it in people's apartments so they could cash out if the kid's lead levels were marginal (even marginal cases could get you 25 K or so nuisance value).

    Those cases are now mostly all gone/settled. ALL the new policies have lead paint exclusions, so even if the kid is pouring skim milk on a bowl of lead paint flakes each morning, you aren't getting a dime.


    Back on March 31, 2015, Cockroach C. Scott Pryor at Fourth Tier Regent “University” Sewer of Law posted an entry labeled “Law School Market Dysfunction and What To Do About It According to Steven Harper.” This was posted before Harper’s article became available to the public. Check out his conclusion:

    “Harper assigns responsibility to three players. First, "students share some of the blame for the market's failure because they indulge their own confirmation bias. For too many, bad things happen only to someone else." Second, "the easy process of securing federally guaranteed loans encourages price insensitivity." Third, and the object of Harper's most barbed comments, are the Problematic Submarket law schools themselves, that is, "schools whose graduates experience the worst employment outcomes produce some of the highest levels of student debt."

    As long as these law schools are playing with someone else's money (i.e., students' and the federal government's), there's no reason for reform. In other words, the market for legal education is not working.

    Harper goes on to suggest reform centering around reducing availability of federal student loan funding to students who attend such schools. I won't reproduce the entirety of Harper's proposal here but suffice it to say that if graduates of a law school do not get FTLT-JD jobs at the rate of the Regional Submarket schools, that school's students would could not borrow the full cost of attendance. Students attending the Problematic Submarket schools would thus need to find resources other than federal loans and, to the extent that money came from private lenders, it would be dischargeable in bankruptcy.

    I have repeatedly posted to the effect that federal student loans distort the market for higher education generally. Harper's proposals go some way toward restoring market competition for law schools[.]”

    What’s comical is that Pryor teaches at a fourth tier trash can. His commode “serves” the problematic submarket. Apparently, the bastard feels okay about publicly supporting Harper’s excellent work – while he collects a nice paycheck courtesy of the taxpayers and the $tudent loan scheme. What a beacon of integrity, huh?!?!

    Look at his school bio real quick. By the way, why in the hell do these grossly overpaid rodents choose to get $6 haircuts. Do the world a favor and get rid of that hideous tie. On second thought, you can jam that silly polka-dot bowtie up your old, wrinkly, corroded ass.

    Again, this rat teaches at a TTTT, where the swine are playing with other people’s money – and providing their students and graduates with garbage job prospects. I'll bet this "educator" doesn't lose a wink of sleep at night, thinking about his role in the law school scam.

    1. I have no problem with Pryor supporting Harper's proposal, but I agree that his bowtie is atrocious. That hideous bowtie alone could save hundreds of lives. Most prospective students, after seeing that shocking photo, would never attend Regent on borrowed money.

      Please post Pryor's grotesque photo prominently on this site. You could save hundreds or even thousands of lives that way.

  19. The information is out there, so anyone attending a TTT is either terminally gullible or a Special Snowflake, or both.
    So it's time to change-for the scam to collapse the money must be shut off. The take down of for-profit colleges is a good place to start: link employment stats with the loans.

  20. People are still enrolling in fourth tier shitholes. If only the taxpayer wasn't footing the bill for their misplaced dreams...I'd say fuck 'em.

  21. I have a shitlaw story for the ages. I knew a PI lawyer who made a fortune before the verbal threshold laws were passed in NJ (early 1990s). This guy would brag about how he would make $50K by calling the insurance adjuster and settling a soft tissue injury in the mid 1980s. In fact, he told me he wouldn't even have to make the call himself, his paralegal or secretary would do it. He used to employ "runners" to get good cases. Runners are usually unemployed people who have nothing better to do. Rumor has it, the PI lawyer went to city hall in the town he worked in and went to the public transportation office. There, he photocopied reports and stats of where the most accident prone intersections were located. He allegedly paid the runners to pour oil slick in the accident prone intersections to create car accidents. The runner would sit on a stoop at the intersection and wait for the "BAM." After the accident, the runner would go to the injured parties and claim to have seen the whole thing and would offer to testify. He would write his pager number on the PI lawyer's business card and say "oh by the way, that lawyer on the card is the best PI lawyer in town, give him a call."

    This PI lawyer had a sweet set-up. For example, he found out that there was a sharp curved road and would use "jumpers." You see "jumpers" would wait for an oncoming car to slow down and then they would jump onto the hood and engage in summer stock histrionics as soon as the police would arrive. The PI lawyer made a fortune. He had a $4.5M house in Warren County, NJ (in the neighborhood where that former Nets player who "accidentally" shot his driver lived in). He drove a Mercedes SL560 and owned investment properties all over the state. There was nothing sharp about this guy. I think he went to law school at Northeastern or WNEC. He failed the bar exam 5 times before allegedly paying someone off to take it for him. You see, 25 years ago, the proctors wouldn't take your fingerprint or anything like that. A fake driver's license could pass for ID back in those days.

    Anyway, back to the PI lawyer, who I will call Larry. Larry got greedy. He put a chiropractor on the second floor of his office building and basically both were fraudulently billing the Medicaid/Medicare and private insurance companies for millions of dollars. Other attorneys reported Larry to the ethics committee but Larry had juice as he was a big time PAC contributor. He helped raise a lot of $$ for the NJ GOP. So what happened to Larry? Well one of his runners got pinched for possessing half a kilo of heroin. He made a deal with the prosecutor to turn Larry and the chiropractor in for a reduced sentence. Larry had evaded the authorities for too long but the runner who turned snitch turned out to be his Waterloo. Larry and the chiropractor went to jail for 4 years. He got out in 3. Prior to going to jail, Larry surrendered his law license (much like the Obamas did in Illinois) to avoid disbarment.

    In 2001, Larry applies for reinstatement and is granted his law license. But now the landscape had changed. Geico, AllState and the other insurance companies were fighting tooth and nail for every little fucking fender bender case. Making money became a challenge. Oh, I forgot to mention, the IRS seized Larry's assets. Apparently, the runner had a ledger of all the payments he received from Larry and the IRS moved quickly to audit his books. Larry owed the IRS something like $4.8M plus penalties and interest.

  22. Larry was getting desperate as he could no longer make a living as a lawyer. Then one day, the mythical million dollar case walked into the door. A Mexican woman walked into Larry's office and told him about how her husband, a construction worker, was in a coma. He had suffered a fractured vertebrae (BIG $$) and after he was released from the hospital, he had to wear one of those angel halo contraptions that look like the Eiffel tower on your head. There was big time negligence in this case but the insurance carriers wanted to pay only $250K. Larry wanted to the full policy rate, which was $2M. In the course of representing the Mexican dude, Larry spent over $150K in litigation costs, including depositions, expert reports, etc. Larry cashed in his savings and financed the case. I think he even took out a home equity loan on his parents' home, which he had bought for them in cash during the heyday of PI work.

    On the eve of trial, the insurance company makes an offer for $1.2M. The problem: Larry could not locate his client. Apparently, the client was an illegal alien and had been deported back to Mexico. Larry found this out when he went to visit his client at a boarding house that he previously shared residence with 25 other illegal aliens. One boarder told Larry "La Migra se lo llevo." Now Larry didn't disclose this fact to the insurance company or the court. He kept adjourning the settlement conference and he hired a private eye to track down his client. Larry spent $20K on the private eye but try finding a Mexican named Jose Torres in a huge country like Mexico--it's like looking for a needle in the haystack. Anyway, Larry was desperate to cash in that $1.2M settlement so he forged his client's signature on the settlement papers. The attorney over at the insurance company did a little digging himself; after all, he found it odd that Larry had stalled nearly a year to get a guaranteed $1.2M check so he hired a private eye himself. The insurance company's private eye reported that he could not find Jose Torres in the state so they subpoenaed him to the settlement hearing. Rumor has it Larry almost hired another wetback to pose as Jose but the insurance company's attorney warned him not to do it as he had Jose Torre's dental records (the insurance company apparently had shelled out $75K to restore his mouth) and could compare the records with whoever he bought into court. Finally, Larry had to come clean and tell the judge he was unable to find his client. The judge was upset but he gave Larry an additional 6 months to find his client or he would dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice.

    6 months go by and Larry could not find his client. The million dollar case was dismissed with prejudice. Larry eventually had to go bankrupt as he had spent his last dollar financing that lawsuit.

    Want to know the kicker to this story? Two weeks after the court dismissed the case with prejudice, Jose Torres magically appears at Larry's office. Apparently, Mr. Torres was able to get a waiver and come back to the United States legally. Mr. Torres wanted to know where was his money since he had heard from his fellow boarder that "el abogado" had come by with news of a million dollar settlement.

    A few years later I found out that Larry had passed away from a cardiac infarction. But before he died, Mr. Torres had sued him for malpractice and won a $2M judgment against him. Some say the $2M judgment killed Larry.

    I often think about Larry. He was someone who made it as a lawyer when things were different. The same game that made him rich, you could say, came back to claim his life.

    1. As a 20 year PI shit law practitioner I call bs on this story for a variety of reasons. I think you are embellishing the shit law we see daily to make it more exciting than it really is.

    2. Yea, full of crap he is but still a good story teller. There is lots of embellishing in many scam blog stories. But they sound good

    3. By the way, how would Torres get a judgment when HE was the person who disappeared. I don't mind your story telling. Ficon has its place. But at least try to make sense.

    4. The story is 100% true. The part about Larry paying someone to pass the bar exam for him and him paying runners to pour oil slick at intersections were unconfirmed rumors.

      I realize the story is somewhat unbelievable so I will clarify some points.

      1) The judge dismissed the case with prejudice because the insurance company's attorney accused Larry of forging the settlement papers. The judge was going to report Larry to the ethics authorities but Larry convinced him not to in exchange for getting an additional 6 months to locate the client and if no client could be produced, the case would be dismissed with prejudice. Normally in these kinds of situations, the judge would dismiss without prejudice but Larry had fucked up by forging his client's signature on the settlement papers.

      2) Mr. Torres contacted a malpractice lawyer (who ironically is now disbarred) who worked on contingency. The malpractice was based on the fact that Larry didn't file a motion for reconsideration when Mr. Torres showed up to his office 2 weeks after the case was dismissed. I think Larry had a few days to either file the motion for reconsideration or file an outright appeal but those things cost money and Larry was out of funds. The client also introduced evidence of the forgery and from what I heard, the judge awarded $2M which ironically was the maximum policy rate of the insurance carrier they originally sued.

      3) Larry had filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy but failed to list Mr. Torres as a creditor, thus, his discharge did not encompass Mr. Torres's claim.

      4) Mr. Torres did not get the full $2M. I think his malpractice only covered $750K. The balance of the judgment was never paid as Larry died destitute.

    5. how did larry convince the judge, what arguments and during what proceedings?

  23. I have one more shitlaw story before I go to bed.

    It was Sept. 2000 and President Clinton had signed an immigration amnesty act which allowed illegal aliens to become permanent residents if they married a US citizen. The catch of this law was that it was only good for 3 months.

    I was at a bar function on 44th street in NYC when the law was announced. A Jewish immigration lawyer remarked that the new law was going to be his retirement plan. Basically, this lawyer, I'll call him "Marv," had a long list of clients who were in deportation proceedings and awaiting appeals on removal orders. He sent word to the Brooklyn ghettos and the Lower East Side that he was looking for Puerto Rican and African-American women who were single. He ran a "honeymoon" package deal for his clients which comprised of his illegal alien client marrying a U.S. Citizen and he would do the I-130/I-485 application. He was charging between $15K to $25K for this. He would throw the "brides" a $3K-4K "wedding present" and pocket the rest. Without exaggerating, this one lawyer signed up about 600 clients. I heard he had his grandparents work around the office non-stop getting the applications prepared before the deadline. Do the math kids: assuming his average fee was $20K per pop, that is $12M gross.

    I remember on the eve of the deadline, Marv rolled into the post office on 34th Street with dollies full of bankers' boxes containing these applications.

    Within months, the immigration officers discovered most of the marriages were fraudulent. Hell, Marv had used one Puerto Rican lady 8 times. So she married 8 different dudes and never divorced any of them. I seem to remember that broad made the 6 o'clock news broadcast. Also, the illegal alien would show up to the interview with his "wife." Most of these women were scamming the system by being on welfare, collecting disability, social security for their "deceased" baby daddy who was probably locked up in Rikers' Island. At the interview the officer would confront the women by saying "We know you are a con artist. Sign a statement admitting this was a sham marriage or else we will take your kids away from you and goodbye government check." Before the immigration officer could finish his sentence, the women would snatch the pen from his hands and sign the statement. Most of the illegal aliens were deported. By the time the authorities got involved, Marv skipped town and about $10M. Last I heard, he was living the good life in Israel.

    Those were the days. It seems like those opportunities are long gone. A dumb motherfucker with a law license could make loads of cash 20-30 years ago. Not anymore. All the wells have dried up and the earth has been scorched.

    Looking back, I could have done what Marv did but I was too scared about the ethics police and my reputation. Well after nearly 30 years of hustling and chasing down clients for loose change, I sort of regret not following Marv's scheme. He doesn't have to work a day in his life anymore; meanwhile, at 62 I am broke (I put 3 kids through college and paid for a daughter's wedding). I have no equity in my home as it is mortgaged to the hilt. I drive a 1984 Volvo that has over 600,000 miles. I have no secretary as I had to let her go in 2008 after the real estate market crashed. It's tough times out here. If kids are insistent on going to law school, they should first try waling a mile in my shoes. If they see the daily misery I see, they would run away from law school.

    1. Right, because everybody knows illegal immigrants have wads of cash to pay exorbitant fees To lawyers.

    2. The most successful immigration lawyers I know have an uncanny ability to extract money from clients who would otherwise have you believe they are broke.

      Many immigration solos struggle because they are conned by their clients. They are told they work for peanuts and can't scrape two nickels together. One day, I was in immigration court and I observed a bond hearing. The immigration judge (who is a glorified hack working for the DOJ) set the respondent's bond at $25K. The respondent told the judge "where am I going to get the money, I am poor?" The judge remarked "I see there are about 20 people in this courtroom who are here to testify on your good moral character, why don't you just pass a collection plate and raise the bond money?" Needless to say, by next day the guy's family and friends raised the bond money.

      I remember another immigration solo who was suckered into doing a defensive asylum case for $1K (established attorneys usually charge $15K for this). He felt "sorry" for the client because of some sob story about how he was molested as a child and had no money. Well the immigration solo won the asylum case. The client managed to photocopy the winning pleadings and sold it to other immigrants at the detention center for $500 a pop. Later, when the immigrant applied for adjustment of status, he had to turn over bank records. The solo was shocked to learn that his client had about $100K saved up at the time he represented the guy for the asylum case.

      If you aren't getting huge wads of cash from your clients like Marv did, then you are doing it all wrong. Marv used to start out his consults by saying, "I don't want to hear about you have no money. If you have no money, there is there door. I am not here to dick around or waste time." Clients paid him big $$ because they bought into the success he projected.

    3. Agree with 6:57. Find me one illegal immigrant who has "$15K to $20K" - let alone 600 illegal immigrants with that kind of money. Were they Arab oil sheiks or something?

    4. "The solo was shocked to learn that his client had about $100K saved up at the time he represented the guy for the asylum case."

      Gosh, with all these rich illegal immigrant barons, it's a wonder they come here in the first place. Obviously they don't need the money - they must really like the "air" and "scenery" here or something.


    5. Marv had a racially-based state to help him evade U.S. law--you don't. None of these schemes would fly in our country.
      The ethics police in health sciences will screw you over for not reporting getting fired at work, not paying speeding tickets, etc., all the while their are unsafe work conditions by same boss, it's biased and sick.

  24. See? 30 years ago you could've made it big as a shitlawyer with a degree from NYLS or a similarly situated shithole. Million dollar cases are rare nowadays. You see poor hard working folk on juries aren't prone to giving some asshole $1 million for an injury. Even a bad one. (Don't get me started on workman's comp cases. I recall a few years ago in my state that a lost arm would get you $40K. Yeah, 40 fucking grand.) Regular workaday folks suffer the indignities of going to a dead end job every day that pays peanuts. And some of 'em even vote. So they don't care to see someone else with a little bad luck walking away with bag fulls of cash for his inconvenience while they themselves are stuck in a shit job.

    You ever heard of something called tort reform? About 15 years ago, states started getting really aggressive in limiting damage awards (especially awards for pain and suffering). This movement was funded by ATRA (if you don't know about this group you're too fucking stupid to be a competent lawyer) and Big Money. In other words, the insurance company crooks.

    Asbestos cases? Gone the way of the dodo. When I was in college I worked for a grounds crew. The foreman was a Philly guy named Jerry. He did okay for himself and family and he was happy making a good salary. Anyway one day at lunch he told me and the other young guys about how as a young man he and his buddies at work would fuck around. They'd pick up big balls of asbestos and soak 'em in water. Wad them up real tight and then toss those soaked asbestos balls at each other. Smack each other in the back of the head and neck with that shit. He just laughed about it. And then he said If I only knew then…

    Lead pain cases? Pretty much done. Even if you live in pre-1978 home or apartment, you sign the lease absolving the owner of any fault or liability. Plus, in a home or unit that old, the walls have been painted over several fucking times with a thing they invented a hile back called non-lead paint. Not much chance of Junior eating lead paint chips in his Cheerios now.

    Auto accident cases? Yep, no luck there unless you’re one of the very best PI firms in your city (top 3 or 4 in a big city, top dawg anywhere else). Shitlawers are fucked since the insurance company can drag shit out until the shitlawyer goes broke. That and they don’t have to respect you until you show that you can consistently win nice jury awards. This is now done over several years. The insurance companies used to shell out the full policy rate. And they would do it quick. Back in 1980 or ’85, if you got banged up in an accident and your car got fucked up, you could have your lawyer make a phone call or 2 and expect the check next week. Now, the insurance company assholes will fight you tooth and fucking nail for a $10,000 fender bender. I kid you not: these cocksuckers would rather pay their ID lawyers double that amount to get you to agree to $5,000 rather than see the full $10,000 go to you. They have deep pockets. They’ll take a few losses (which are chump change to them) if it sends a message. And that message is loud and clear: we the insurance companies will not settle with you broke lawyers on your terms. If we have to lose a little money to get that through your fucking heads, so be it.

    Oh I forgot to mention this. While juries comprised of regular workaday folks hate seeing huge settlements, judges, being the cocksuckers that they all are, hate them 1,000 times more. And they can amend (read: reduce) the relative few punitive damages awards. And they do it often. One last thought. The whole runaway jury thing was always blown out of proportion. But the tort reformers used this bogeyman effectively.

    1. "Tort reform" screwed medical malpractice too.

      Oh, you lost half your face because the hospital forget to test you for fungal and not just bacterial infections while you were an immuno-suppressed, minor, inpatient on chemo?? TOO DAMN BAD! Your pain and suffering is capped at 250k, no punitive damages available.

      You see, by capping pain and suffering this weeds out frivolous cases! No, no it doesn't, it just under-compensates legitimate cases.

      Why the voters are so stupid as to go for illogical crappola over and over again, I don't know.

      What I do know if that hospitals do not routinely test for fungal infections post-op and in immuno-suppressed patients, although it costs them next to nothing and would be required by an *objective* standard of care.

      This country suck balls, and not just because the plaintiffs' outfits cannot make a dime any longer, because it is rigged against ordinary, honest people.

  25. Shit law clients are truly the epitome of what's virtuous with the human race.

    Remember 9/11? Shortly after the towers came down, NY area shitlawyers went into scavenge mode after hearing the Feds were setting up a fund to compensate families of the victims that died on 9/11.

    One attorney I knew had a contact at City Hall. He was able to obtain a list of the victims' names before it was released to the press. The lawyer began contacting the families, often showing up at wakes and funerals. He would get clients to sign retainer agreements promising to get them the Fed monies in exchange for a 33% contingency fee. Later, due to the aggressive competition of getting these cases, I saw that contingency drop to as little as 15%. Anyway, the lawyer in the story signed up a Dominican mother who lost her son on 9/11. He was a mailroom clerk at some financial company. The kid was only 21 and had no wife or kids. The kid's biological father skipped town before the kid was even born. In fact, he never met his biological father while he was alive.

    After filing out some forms and an actuary analysis, it was determined that the Dominican mother was going to get $1.5M. The lawyer was going to get $.5M just for filling out some forms. Not so fast.

    You see, when word got out on the street that the kid's mom was going to get $1.5M, the biological father, who was living in Santo Domingo, was informed of the payout. He booked a ticket to NYC and showed up at the kid's funeral. In fact, I heard he threw himself on the empty casket and started crying "mi hijo, mi hijo, porque dios?" The very next day, the lawyer received a call from the biological father's attorney. Since the kid died intestate, under state law, his wife and kids would be entitled to his estate, including the monies setup by the Feds. Since the kid had no wife or kids, then the parents would be next in line to collect the loot.

    Now mind you, the biological father had never seen the kid and never paid a cent in child support, but in the end, the law determined he was entitled to half of the $1.5M, so the lawyer saw his fee reduced from $.5M to $.25M. Still not a bad day for filling out some bs forms.

    But kids, those days are gone. And if there was ever another tragedy such as 9/11, the Feds won't be so generous. There was so much 9/11 claims fraud that the Feds will probably not oversee a program of that magnitude ever again. I remember a kid's family collecting $750K for his "death." It turned out, the kid went to Mexico and hid there while his family pretended he had died during the 9/11 attacks. Then, there was that attorney in NJ who took off with $3M of 9/11 monies earmarked for his client. He left his wife and 3 kids behind while taking off with his secretary to Nigeria with the money.

    If you find these shitlaw stories exciting or glamorous, trust me they are not. You know the lawyer who got $.25M down from $.5M? Well apparently he had bought a $1.6M house and was hoping to use that $.5M as a down payment. When he couldn't make the down payment, the $.25M was used as an earnest deposit. Since the rest of his shitlaw practice only netted him about $50K a year, he was not eligible for a mortgage and he breached the real estate contract. The sellers sued him and they were able to keep the $.25M deposit as damages for the breach. So you see kids, you may think this shit is easy but in the end there is always a trip up in shitlaw that gets the better of you.


    On July 30, 2013, ATL posted an epic Elie Mystal entry entitled “A Guide For Choosing A Low-Ranked Law School.” Read the entire hilarious, insightful article – but look at this killer opening:

    “People ask me all the time, “Should I go to law school?” And I say “no,” and stare at them as if they just asked me if they should douse themselves with gasoline and light themselves on fire. Then they tell me all the things they’ve done to research their decisions — which invariably devolves into a discussion about whether they should be dousing themselves with premium or regular unleaded gasoline (or diesel if I’m talking to somebody who wants to go to Cooley). Then I say “please, don’t go,” and then I look away because I don’t want to be around when they light the match.

    Everybody has their own specific situation, and I think that when people are trying to talk themselves into going to law school, especially a low-ranked or poorly regarded law school, they get very invested in the unique particularities of their situation. “Oh, I know it’s a bad idea for [everybody else], but I’m [a special snowflake] and it makes a lot of sense for me.”

    Not everybody can get into Yale, or Duke, or Berkeley. I understand that. Therefore, as a public service, let me tell you how to choose an unheralded school in a way that makes sense. Or at least how to do it in a way that isn’t ridiculously dumb. If you are really thinking of going to a lower-ranking law school (and I’ll let the community determine what “lower-ranking” means), here is a checklist of five things you should do before you decide to roll the dice….”

    Here are the delineated steps, as outlined by Mystal:

    1. Get Five More Points On Your LSAT.

    2. Identify The Specific Job You Want And Will Be Able To Get With A Law Degree From Your School.

    3. Make Sure Your Plan Works Even If You Don’t Finish In The Top Ten Percent.

    4. Do Your Research; Don’t Just Listen To What The Law School Is Selling You.

    5. Pay As Little As Possible.

    Here is my favorite portion of the piece, under the fourth item on the checklist:

    “You don’t just have to take the law school’s word for what they are: you can talk to others in the community. Contact recent graduates, local employers, judges if you see yourself as a trial attorney. Don’t spend a day taking the guided tour of campus; spend a week in the community. Where do students live, how much does that cost, how are they able to network? You can look at a school’s NALP or LST numbers. When somebody makes up a figure, you can call them on it and see how they respond. Is the school trying to hide the fundamental weakness in the legal employment market, or do they have a plan for attacking it?

    Most of what lawyers do is research. If you can’t do that research for yourself, why would anybody trust you to do it for a client?”

  27. Here is yet another tale from the Chronicles of a ShitLawyer.

    Back in 2002, I got a call from the assignment judge of my county. In my state (NJ), we have mandatory pro bono and if you get the call from the assignment judge, you have to take the case. You do not have the choice to decline unless you want to lose your law license. Yes, welcome to the world of involuntary servitude. Doctors, plumbers and mechanics are fortunate they don't have to perform mandatory pro bono to exercise their respective professions. Lawyers on the other hand, well we might as well be the donkey in a piñata or a game of pin the tail on the donkey but instead of using a pin, an 18 inch stiff dildo is used.

    I did matrimonial and PI work but had no criminal law experience. Guess what I was assigned? A "client" who was indicted on armed robbery. He was facing 15 years under the Graves Act, which enhanced sentencing for offenders using firearms. Within 5 minutes of getting the assignment, I get a collect call from "Leroy." I took the call and this is how he starts our attorney-client relationship: "Yo, I am locked up in Passaic County and some Bloods want to shank me. Come down and get me the fuck outta here now."

    I took a trip to the county jail. If you ever been to Passaic county jail, they let the lawyers meet with their clients in the open bay. If an inmate wanted to choke or shank you, they could. I met Leroy and he copped an attitude with me right away. He started by saying "Yo, I ain't rob nobody. I am gettin railroaded by the Paterson cops. I can't stay in jail, you know what I am sayin? I am about to murder some mutherfucka in this joint."

    Anyway, I am getting jittery just remembering this story. I attended Leroy's bail hearing. The judge set the bail at $100K since Leroy had priors and was a flight risk (he had a bench warrant from another matter when he was picked up for armed robbery). Later at the jail, Leroy stood up and grabbed me by the neck and told me "Yo why you not doing your fucking job? I don't have no hundred grand, why you think I was trying to jack that jewelry store?" To make a long story short, I convinced the prosecutor to cut a deal. Leroy 's charge would be amended and he would plead guilty to a lesser charge and only do 4 years. When I went to break the good news to Leroy, he went batshit on me. He threw a chair at me and said "you working with the man, you tryin to lock me up in here like a caged animal, fuck that. Take this shit to trial and you better get me off." I told Leroy to take the deal because the Prosecutor had video evidence from the jewelry store and it showed Leroy committing the crime. When I told Leroy about the tape, he said "man that was another nigga who look like me. I was at my baby mama house that day." Of course, the "baby mama" couldn't remember the day of the robbery. I interviewed her and I swear she high on crack. When I was at her apartment there was another dude there. He came up to me and said "keep that nigga locked up, we don't want him bothering me and my boo."


  28. continued

    I tried to sell the plea deal to Leroy. He rejected it. So we went to trial. I lost the trial and Leroy was sentenced to 12 years. As he was taken away by the sheriffs officers, Leroy yelled at me "yo counselor I mma pay you a visit when I get out. You sold me down the river you muthafucking shyster."

    For years I looked up Leroy on the NJ prison bureau website to monitor his release day. I would look it up at least once a week for 8 years. One day, I looked up the website and found out Leroy was being released early. I swear I had a panic attack. I started suffering anxiety attacks as his release date approached.

    I got a firearms license and kept a .38 Smith & Wesson in my desk drawer. All this shit over a fucking pro bono case I was forced to take.

    I later found out that Leroy was picked up for carjacking two weeks after he was released. I was relieved. To this day I still look up his release date from time to time. He is scheduled for release in February 2022. If I am lucky I will have retired and moved to Florida. Oh who the fuck am I kidding. I won't be retiring anytime soon and will probably work until this job or Leroy kills me.

    To those kids contemplating taking the LSAT/bar: wait until you get your first pro bono case assignment. For your sake I hope you don't assigned a gangbanger who expects you to turn in a Johnnie Cochran performance.

  29. Man, you are so full of shit. No judge forces a pi lawyer to take a felony. And "leroy" is a caricature created by a racist mind.

    1. The person writing all these stories is probably "Jackie," the completely discredited "fabulist" (read: LIAR) from the fake rape case at UVA.


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