Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Still Want to Go to Law School, Dumbass?

Missing the Big Question: On July 11, 2016, JSTOR published an Angela Chen article that was entitled “Do People Regret Going to Law School?” Look at this sideways opening:

“Once upon a time, law school was a sure bet. You had three years of study and panicked over passing the Bar, but as soon as that was done you’d be set for life in a prestigious, high-paying job. Not so much anymore. The profession is in crisis, with more new lawyers than demand, and law schools are scaling back to protect their students. 

Critics have suggested that going to law school is no longer a smart investment because with so few jobs, only those who go to the top 10 schools stand a chance of paying off the massive debt that law school incurs. 

But these are the critiques from the outside. What do lawyers themselves say? In a 2013 paper, researchers Ronit Dinovitzer, Bryant Garth and Joyce Sterling analyzed various sets of data to determine whether law school grads really had buyers’ remorse. 

First, they found that the chances of obtaining a high-paying job were slim. The starting salary for new lawyers at a corporate firm can be around $165,000, but elsewhere, the starting salary is more like $50,000. Evidence shows the number of people who go the “corporate law” track has been shrinking, so the first job for most graduates will not make up for their debt. 

The researchers also found that indeed, going to a Top 10 law school was crucial, and that grades matter too; graduates with average grades (under about 3.37 GPA) from a Top 10 were about as likely to find a spot in a top firm as the very best students from less prestigious schools. 

Finally, the researchers analyzed a questionnaire that asked the lawyers themselves, about seven years on, how they felt about their decision. These numbers painted a surprisingly rosy picture. Unsurprisingly, graduates from the top 10 schools reported the highest satisfaction[.]” [Emphasis mine]

You can tell this article was written by a third-rate journalist who doesn’t have a damn clue about how these cesspools operate. The law schools are not featuring smaller class sizes, in order to “protect” the students, Bitch! They are actually admitting a higher percentage of a dumber applicant pool. Also, graduates of second tier sewers and third tier commodes would cry tears of joy if they made $50K per year. If you don’t land Biglaw, you are looking at jobs paying $38K-$45K annually. The fool then defecated this conclusion:

“So while it’s true that the market isn’t great and the debt can be a real drawback, these don’t seem to have as much impact on life satisfaction as the naysayers may think. Even years later and with a lot of debt, most people are glad that they went—and that should be good news for the future lawyers stepping into the classroom every fall.”

Yes, graduating with an additional $134,812.91 in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt will not impact one’s life satisfaction, right?!?! These grads are living in financial hell. Apparently, this pinhead needs to see a few more longitudinal studies on the subject.

The $200K Question: On July 11, 2016, the Huffington Post featured an entry from Ishan Puri, under the headline “Should I Go To Law School?” Read the following portion:

“Today, choosing to go to law school is often a $200,000-plus decision. Thus, it comes as no surprise that when talking about law school, usually the first question I get from potential law school applicants is, Should I go to law school? This is a question that every aspiring law applicant should ask themselves. There is no decision-tree or all-encompassing diagram that will be able to answer this question for everyone. 

But, whenever I get this question, I always respond with a question of my own: Why do you want to go to law school? To me, this is the most important question that every potential law applicant needs to answer. Before spending months studying for the LSAT, and then a couple more on writing essays and preparing applications, it’s important that potential law students take a step back and ask themselves: What is my motivation for going to law school? As I have explored this question with the many potential applicants that have come my way, I’ve noticed that most answers usually follow one of the following patterns.” [Emphasis mine]

The author then dilineates – and tears apart – the following sorry-ass reasons for wanting to go to law school:

My parents want me to go 
I want to make a difference/change the world 
I want to make a lot of money 
I don’t know what else to do 
I want to be a lawyer 

Anyone attending an ABA-accredited toilet today is WILLFULLY IGNORANT of the economic realities facing recent grads. These mental midgets deserve no sympathy. Legal process outsourcing, automation, and vendors such as LegalZoom have taken a huge toll on the need for lawyers.

Notarios and states that allow “licensed paralegal practitioners” to engage in the limited practice of law have also helped damage the industry. You now have idiots doing piecemeal work or doing a case from beginning to end for $400. Furthermore, statutes and case law are available to anyone with an Internet connection. For decades, a non-attorney would need to physically visit a law library for these sources. With all that in mind, why in the hell would anyone with a brain stem want to incur outrageous sums of student loans for a chance to enter this GLUTTED field?!?!

Conclusion: Ask not whether you should go to law school, but ask yourself why you want to attend. Then ponder the following: Can you reasonably see yourself being successful enough at your desired position to: (a) get hired at that job; and (b) be able to repay your student loans and to provide for yourself and possibly a family. It really comes down to this, people: try not to be too stupid. If your full scale IQ is hovering in the 80s, you should take a couple of deep breaths, put down your coloring book, and perhaps consult your caregiver. But if you do nothing else, make damn sure that you discuss your decision with someone who recently graduated from a law school that is not a top 8-10 institution, BEFORE you even apply or register with LSAC.


  1. Law is a shitty way to make a living.


  2. Ok, the legal field has changed. Prices for legal education have risen beyond the true market value for the JD, in most cases.

    But we need more minority lawyers!! Did you know in Florida one out of every four lawyers is a minority. This is why FAMU Law School was brought back in the legal game.

    To provide an affordable legal education with the express purpose of increasing minority lawyers. NCC, TSU, Southern, we can go down the HBCU list and legal tuition is still affordable compared to the current market.

    It is important to perform your due diligence and run the numbers. But a legal education is still doable.

    Look at these worse case scenarios! Two law students went to law school in California ???? WHY in the world would they do this? Tuition is like above $50k a year at most schools there! (forget due diligence for a minute, just eye ball the law schools by state and you would already conclude this would end up bad). They graduated, could not find jobs then want to sue the law schools??

    Unacceptable! They need to admit they made a bad decision and move on. (the court system will help them with this, one of them got tossed out already). Also one of them now works as an Uber driver??? Horrible life decisions.

    Bottom line is, these guys were loser's to begin with and would "Most
    Likely" exercised the same poor judgment in any occupation they would have pursued, thus still end up at the bottom of the food chain!!

    Darwinism taught us this already??? Lip stick on a pig, is still a pig.

    Now try being in both of their shoes w/o the crushing debt above 100k... (which the HCBU's would provide if done the right way) and now we have more options!

    -In state tuition
    -Live with roommates
    -Hustle Hard

    Even at the School I went to, you could see the BS a mile away. After the law student swearing in ceremony, they pulled a projector and showed us the numbers. Average cost of three years $120,000 (tuition and board), average salary upon graduation $40k. They said live like a lawyer while IN law school. You will live like a law student after you graduate!!!!!!

    Most of the grads at my Private law school became DA's or Prosecutors. We even had the option of becoming certified legal interns, which allowed us to take cases on a limited basis, while supervised. I even went to expressly talk to many 3L's and the truth came out.

    The numbers plus feedback just did not add up. So Go HBCU and swing for the fences. You will land on your feet with minimal debt.... just Run the number's, and use foresight.

    "To be a Future Minister of Justice of the Law is among one of the highest callings in life" (E.Y.) S2.E8

    **Old Guy, I know you approve this message!!!!!

    1. AAMPLE doofus-you are a very, very slow learner. Although it's good to see you no longer mention AAMPLE.
      First-you didn't attend law school and are not a lawyer. No lawyer would write "became DA's(sic) or Prosecutors." Here's a hint next time you visit: DAs ARE prosecutors.
      Your drivel about HBCU(how long did it take for you to get those initials correct-months?) law schools is, well, drivel. No point in addressing it all, but the in-state nonsense is pretty amazing. A person can't just declare him/herself "in-state" for the lower tuition. Using the FAMU law school as an example, there's a process to be followed:
      But in your inanity, you seem to have lost your focus, spouting both pap-"swing for the fences" while at the same time embracing social Darwinism. You can't both be Jimny Cricket and Gordon Gecko; you'll need to choose.
      But seriously-1. stop trying to pass yourself off as a lawyer and 2. think, for just 30 seconds, about how strange it is for you to attribute a quote to a long-cancelled TV show, as if it were a Bible verse. That's just strange.
      Here's some good advice for you: Turn off the TV, get off the couch, get out of your parents' basement, and go actually learn something.

    2. Ever think AAMPLE man is a paid comment troll? I do. He isn't a lawyer and yet he speaks up for law school and the legal industry. On a blog where 99.9999% of the commenters are ex-law students, lawyers, or have been involved at a law firm in some position beyond janitor. Nobody takes the troll seriously, but they just keep plugging along.

    3. “Bottom line is, these guys were loser’s [sic] to begin with and would ‘Most Likely’ exercised the same poor judgement in any occupation they would have pursued, thus still end up at the bottom of the food chain!! Darwinism taught us this already???”

      7:40 AM, I’m not one of those snobs who critique the grammar of blog commenters. But I will point out your ignorance of simple biological concepts is stunning. Darwinism taught us that individuals have variations in heritable traits. Some individuals have more successful trait variations that allow them to survive and reproduce better than individuals with less successful variations. As a result, the population evolves because more individuals in the next generation possess the successful traits. An organism’s position on the food chain has nothing to do with their success in surviving, reproducing, and passing their traits onto the next generation. Plants are on the very bottom of the food chain you imbecile! Yet plants are still with us today. Being a “loser” has nothing to do with surviving and reproducing. Go back to the crap hole undergrad diploma mill you attended (if you did attend college), and kick the president in the nuts for churning out a dumb ass hole. In the future, when you want to try and insult fellow victims of the law school scam, try not to sound like a complete idiot.

    4. S-no doubt you are right. Why, with that cogent writing style and the persuasive arguments presented, it's a virtual certainty that he's a tenure professor or a dean.
      Swing for the fences, indeed.

    5. I wish Nando could use his blog-fu to find and reveal this guy's location, just as he's exposed trolls in the past. This guy could be anything from some crazy lol skool dean to some basement-dwelling loser.

  3. Nando, I stumbled upon your blog a short while ago and I'd like to give you a well-deserved "Thank you." I was young and stupid (sat for the LSAT a few months shy of my 21st birthday). I thought I could just pick some worthless BA major and law school would be my safety hatch to great wealth and prestige. Hell, I left my "prestigious" undergrad university dumber than I was when I entered. When my lack of serious preparation caused me to get a mediocre LSAT score, I was looking at investing $150k or more in a second or third tier money pit. Thank goodness I saw the light. Not going to law school was the only good decision I made in my early twenties. I would have been absolutely ruined. Eventually I did land a job in the oil and gas industry and my employer has allowed me to work an altered schedule so I can take classes towards a more useful STEM degree. Funny, I could have saved a lot of time and money had I done this at age 18.

    Keep telling the truth. I will certainly continue to visit.

  4. As this post makes clear, the whole point of law school is to get a job. Period. And the law schools are not doing that for their graduates. There's an over-supply of lawyers; the schools know that but keep cranking out JDs anyway, and often supply misinformation(the great wave of retirements that never seems to arrive) to rationalize their behavior.
    Unfortunately, the scammers control the levers of power, and their only concern is to keep the money flowing to save their cushy jobs. They will do anything to keep the scam going, to the point where some of the worst offenders are now approaching open admissions.
    And despite the talk about school closures(other than the merger in MN) no ABA accredited school has closed-not a single one.
    And while dozens ought to close, none will anytime soon. The scammers in power have made it clear that they'll jettison those lower on the food chain-staff/administrators/faculty-to keep the bosses in jobs and the TTTTs open. If a TTTT closes, that dean doesn't get his/her 300K salary plus benefits, and would actually have to-EGADS!-practice law.
    And it's painful to realize, but there are enough naive applicants, Special Snowflakes, and bored/unemployed/got nothing better to do applicants to keep the scam going for years, even decades.
    And I hope I'm wrong-but take a look at what the ABA had done to confront the scam. What's that? Yes, they've done virtually nothing-and note who controls the ABA committees which should be addressing the scheme.

  5. The conclusion of Chen’s article is hilarious: “[s]o while it’s true that the market isn’t great and the debt can be a real drawback, these don’t seem to have as much impact on life satisfaction as the naysayers may think. Even years later and with a lot of debt, most people are glad that they went…”

    Earlier this year, researchers published a study on substance abuse and mental health problems in the legal profession. Here is the study: Krill PR, Johnson R, Albert L. “The Prevalence of Substance Use and Other Mental Health Concerns Among American Attorneys.” Journal of Addiction Medicine. 2016 Jan-Feb; 10(1):46-52.

    Check out the findings of the study. Using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), researchers found that 20.6% of attorneys reported drinking alcohol at levels consistent with problematic drinking. In comparison, 11.8% of a broad, highly educated workforce screened positive on the same measure. Using the AUDIT-C (a shorter 3 question screening test), researchers found that 36.4% reported alcohol use consistent with hazardous drinking or possible alcohol abuse or dependence. By comparison, 15% of physicians and surgeons screened positive on the AUDIT-C. 43.7% of respondents reported that their problematic use of alcohol began within 15 years of completing law school, and 14.6% reported the problematic use of alcohol began more than 15 years after completing law school. Participants were also questioned about past mental health issues. Levels of depression, anxiety, and stress among attorneys were significant, with 28% experiencing depression, 19% experiencing anxiety, and 23% experiencing stress. 11.5% reported suicidal thoughts at some point during their career, 2.9% reported self-injurious behavior, and 0.7% reported at least 1 prior suicide attempt. The researchers noted some individuals were probably abusing alcohol to cope with psychological problems, while others may have had psychological problems because of alcohol abuse.

    Other studies have found that lawyers are 3-4 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers. One study found that about 40% of law students suffered depression by the time they graduated.

    All of these studies into lawyer drug abuse and depression are not surprising. Working in a dilapidated professional building as a solo or shit law attorney, making little money, competing with increasing numbers of new attorneys for clients in a shrinking market, while saddled with excessive student loan debt, will make most people depressed. Don’t forget the struggles of the poor souls working in document review and other temp jobs. I give credit to Chen for not citing the garbage “million dollar degree” study and admitting lawyers are struggling financially. But when Chen ignores the overwhelming number of news stories and research into lawyer mental health, drug abuse, and suicide, I feel the need to ask her, is your computer broken? Have you ever heard of Google?

  6. Here's why I like this site. It doesn't fuck around and tell you that if you just work harder or get into a little better school that you'll end up with a good job. People go to law school to gain entry into a profession. But that ship has sailed for more than half of the people smart enough to get into law school. Don't even think of going into law. There are plenty of ways to make a better living. While there aren't a ton of these good jobs out there, if you're smart enough to get into law school (even a second tier piece of shit), you're smart enough to get a city job shuffling papers and fucking off. With good bennies. I know people making $70k a year in city positions, with just a BA from Bumfuck U. Get a clue and stay away from law school.

  7. I've been thinking about this for a while now... I'm surprised that the law school scammers haven't tried to blame the plummeting LSAT scores, bar passage rates, and all-around IQs on Nando & Co. yet.
    I'm sure if they wanted, they could try to spin it that way: "It's all the scambloggers' fault! If only they didn't convince all the smarter kids to avoid law school, then we wouldn't have had to admit all these dumbasses instead!"

  8. Cra-ackk! That's the sound of Nando hitting it out of the park. Again.

  9. Ex-STEMer here who sent to law school as a non-trad. Ten years later, you are not missing anything, believe me. Keep plugging away at what you are doing, and God bless.

  10. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJuly 15, 2016 at 12:26 PM

    As a Solo my Schedule C has not been above 40K in almost a decade.

    1. The only way you make money in the law as a solo is with contingency fee cases or cases where the insurer pays your fee if your client prevails. Making it on divorces? Unlikely unless you have a very high end practice.

    2. Then you should take the advice of Team AAMPLE and try harder num nuts !

      Survival of the fittest!!

    3. Hustle! Swing for the fences! Catch a star! Be a minister of justice! Network!
      Hmmm...did I forget anything?

  11. New law school attendance calculus

    • SAT > 170 Probably OK if highly competitive desire to actually be a lawyer. However probably smart enough for more highly compensated career in business or medicine.
    • SAT 165-170 Extreme Caution unless STEM undergraduate and willing to accept mediocre salary AND Full scholarship
    • SAT 160-165 No unless have real connection to family firm and independent wealth
    • SAT < 160 FORGET IT

    1. What utter nonsense. You don't need a 170 Lsat to be a good lawyer. A 170 LSAT is equivalent to a 133 IQ per online conversion charts, a 160 IQ about 120. 120 is plenty smart enough to be a lawyer in most fields. Law does not required a rocket science mind. I also disagree you need to go to a top law school to be successful in the law. It all comes down to your aptitude and interests. Not eveybody will hate practicing law. Of course, I would recommend, if not an elite school, a lower ranked, but inexpensive school so you don't incur the debt.

    2. Where are these "inexpensive" schools? Once living costs are factored in, especially if you're OOS, it's all at least 50K year.


    On July 15, 2016, Staci Zaretsky posted an ATL entry labeled “The Reasons Why Law School Graduates Are Really, Really Worried About Failing The Bar Exam.” Enjoy the following:

    "Yesterday afternoon, we published a story about recent law school graduates who are absolutely terrified about failing the bar exam. At the time, we wondered if that was how the majority of law school graduates really feel. Of course, we know that failing the bar exam is every law school graduate’s worst nightmare, but based on the fact that more and more test-takers have been failing the exam during each and every administration of the test for the past few years, examinees’ worries seem to have been greatly exacerbated.

    Here are just a few of the emails we received from readers in response to yesterday’s story. From graduates of top-tier law schools to graduates of lower-ranked law schools, everyone is positively scared to death about failing. The cause? Many of them think that their legal educations have left them unprepared to excel on the exam. Take a look:

    "My husband and I are both May law school graduates, both are taking the bar in 2 weeks, and want to open our own law firm. We need to pass to even survive. We don’t have money to survive without this opportunity and we still have to wait until November to figure out whether we pass or don’t… So much stress I am pulling out chunks of my hair. The fear is very real."

    "How do I feel about it? Completely overwhelmed and unprepared. I mean there is not really a good way to put into words how I personally feel about it. I don’t feel law school has prepared me for it. Oh, and on top of that all of the horror stories we read and hear about T1 grads who can’t find meaningful employment (God help the rest of us), the unchanging poor job prospects for new attorneys, the job market over saturation, LegalZoom stealing bread and butter private practice work, the low price of oil (for us Texans), etc., etc. In retrospect, for someone who is somewhat of a natural pessimist, law school was not the best choice."

    "As a 2016 grad in the top of my class, I am currently terrified to fail the bar exam."

    Now scroll down to Zaretsky’s penultimate paragraph:

    “Law schools, in their eagerness to fill their seats with warm bodies amid a downturn in enrollment, have made their students feel as though the quality of their legal education has been subpar, leaving them without the capabilities needed to pass the bar exam. If they should pass, due to the slowly improving but still woeful entry-level employment market, they feel that they won’t be able to find a job, perhaps making their endless studying a moot point. Congratulations, law schools — you’ve officially broken your students’ spirits.”

    Yes, these sick bitches and hags really care about their students, huh?!?! They merely want asses in seats, so they can keep the federal student loan gravy train running along. “Law professors” and deans have NO INTEGRITY. Sadly, too many morons still seem to believe that obtaining/purchasing a TTT law degree will improve their future. Look at the first email in the ATL article above. That dolt is married to a fellow May 2016 law grad. Have fun paying off that mountain of NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt.


    Let's revisit the Puri piece from the Huffington Post, cited to in the main entry. By the way, notice this brief bio: Ishan Puri is a Stanford graduate, entrepreneur, and investor. This means that he is a hell of a lot smarter than you, and monumentally so if you went to Crooklyn or a similar toilet.

    "• My parents want me to go

    Even if your parents are planning on financing your law school education, dedicating three years of your life (and $200,000+ of somebody else’s money) to law school because somebody else wants you to is not setting yourself up for a successful law school experience. Law school is hard. It is incredibly demanding on your time, your energy, your focus, and your bank account. All those late nights at the library and the countless hours of reading and highlighting (and rereading and re-highlighting) cases are going to be that much more taxing and difficult to maintain if you lack personal motivation. If you’re going to invest that much of yourself into something, it better be for you.

    • I want to make a difference/change the world

    Wanting to make a difference is a great thing. I’m glad that’s important to you. But, unfortunately, that kind of response doesn’t really tell me why law school. There are numerous ways in which you can make a positive impact on the world.

    Why law school? What is it about going to law school that’s going to put you on the path you want to be to making a difference? I’m not saying that going to law school won’t put you on that type of path. It certainly can, and it has for many. I just want to know more about how you came to decide that going to law school is the path you want to take for making an impact on this world. It may be that you’ve thought about this a lot (and I hope you have). If so, tell me more."

    Hell, a mouse that farts in a church house has a greater impact on the world than you, TTT boy and TTT girl. Get that through your soft skulls.

    "• I don’t know what else to do

    Wait a minute. You’re telling me that you want to go all-in on a $200,000+ education because you don’t know what else to do? Eating potato chips late at night because you’re bored and having nothing else to do is one thing; going to law school is another. If you don’t know what else to do right now in your life, don’t go to law school—at least not right now. Law school isn’t going anywhere. It will be there again next year, as well as the year after that. Go to law school when you’re ready, not when you’re bored."

    Yes, tons of people attend law school for this garbage reason. These poor souls ought to be tossed into traffic. It would be a more humane end to their miseries.

    1. That is a vital point--there are plenty of ways to make the world a better place which do not require 3 years of your life + 6 figure debt. Public interest, legal aid, public defender jobs are VERY competetive--just call up the ACLU, Greenpeace, or the local PD office and ask them how many lawyers they have hired in the last year--and how many applications they received for each position. Not to mention these jobs usually offer low pay. Most people who hold such jobs have family money or a high earning spouse.

  14. Boston Globe just caught the story.


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