Sunday, September 10, 2017

Questions Regarding the Law School Return on Investment

A Wise Investment?: On August 21, 2017, the National Jurist published a guest post from Martin Pritikin, under the header “Return on Investment: The Core Challenge for Legal Education and the Legal Profession.” Take a look at this opening:

“The legal community is facing a myriad of serious challenges ― historically low law school enrollments and bar passage rates, exploding tuition costs and associated student debt and a stagnant job market ― that, if not addressed, will put it in peril.

One seemingly attractive solution would be for a quarter of law schools to just close their doors. This would reduce competition for existing law jobs and reduce pressure on remaining schools to enroll less-qualified students to keep the lights on. 

But this would only exacerbate the national crisis in access to justice. Tens of millions of Americans need lawyers but cannot afford the prevailing rates that lawyers charge, or live in areas where there are too few lawyers to adequately serve them. It is not enough to say the country needs fewer lawyers. It needs more of them ― if they can offer modest-means clients reasonable rates and still service their educational debt. 

This is not just bleeding-heart talk. If recent law graduates’ only option is to compete with more seasoned attorneys for the clients that can afford to pay $200+ per hour, they’re going to continue to struggle. By offering reduced rates and tapping into a market of people who would otherwise likely forego legal services altogether, recent graduates will not simply be fighting for a bigger slice of the pie; they’ll be expanding the pie.

The big problem is return on educational investment, as those who would most logically serve the middle market can ill afford to do so. Annual tuition is about $50,000 at top-tier private law schools, where many graduates land $180,000 starting salaries. But the tuition is roughly the same at so-called “fourth-tier” law schools, where those lucky enough to secure employment typically make between $60,000 and $80,000. There’s a name for this economic model: it’s called broken.

Consider this: of the 205 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association, 199 are exempt from Department of Education requirements to report graduates’ debt-to-earnings ratios. Why? Because they operate as not-for-profits. As reported by the ABA Journal on January 11, 2017, of the six for-profit schools that recently reported their data for the first time, two failed outright and three others were found to be in the “zone,” that is, at risk of failing. Yet, based on available data, if the not-for-profits were subject to the same debt-to-earnings test, it appears at least half of them ― 100 schools ― would have failed as well.” [Emphasis mine]

But these grossly overpaid and under-worked “legal scholars” are performing a “public service” for the students, right? Still want to sign on the dotted line, Lemming? By the way, Pritikin’s estimate of $60K-$80K in annual salary from fourth tier commodes is greatly exaggerated. Those grads who end up in small law are lucky to make $48K per year.

Prior Coverage: Back on August 18, 2016, CNBC featured a Kathleen Elkins piece that was entitled “Goldman Sachs CEO: ‘The most you get out of law school is the debt.’” Read the following portion:

“A traditional law degree can cost over $100,000 and three years of your life.

Is it worth it? 

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, who attended Harvard Law and practiced law for five years before getting into finance, seems to think not.

“Of course, you get a lot out of law school — you learn a lot — but the most you get out of law school is debt,” Blankfein recently told a group of Goldman interns.

There are numbers to back his claim. “Law school student debt has ballooned, rising from about $95,000 among borrowers at the average school in 2010 to about $112,000 in 2014,” Noam Schieber of the New York Times reported. Part of this trend is due to the increasing cost of tuition, which is now over $40,000 a year on average for private institutions.

Additionally, there are fewer jobs available for lawyers, meaning more grads may not even be able to put their expensive degree to use.

“While demand for other white-collar jobs has grown substantially since the start of the recession, law firms and corporations are finding they can make do with far fewer in-house lawyers than before, squeezing those just starting their careers,” Schieber explained.

Part of the reason law firms are facing smaller headcounts is because of “growing efficiencies created by technology and business systems and increased competition from nontraditional legal services providers,” James G. Leipold, the executive director of the National Association for Law Placement, told the Times.” [Emphasis mine]

In other words, now is a bad time to pursue a “legal education.” Ask yourself how many frshly-minted JDs from Pace, Loyola Los Angeles, and UC Irvine are making $80K per year. The answer is few to none. Then look up the average law school debt for students at those institutions.

Conclusion: Simply put, incurring an additional $145K+ in non-dischargeable debt, for a chance to enter a glutted “profession” is beyond stupid. If you do not attend a truly elite law school, then you are taking on a terrible financial risk. Try repaying back ridiculous sums of student loans on a paltry $43K annual salary. You do not need to ruin your life, in order to help “law professors” maintain their vacation homes and expensive car payments. Also, take into account opportunity costs associated with attending law school, i.e. you will be giving up three years of income. Even if you work at a dead-end job making $30K a year, that is a serious loss of money. For $ome rea$on, the "professors" forget to mention that part.


  1. Let's compare costs...

    Drake Law School in Des Moines, IA:

    Tuition: $40,500
    Books/Fees: $3,452
    Living Expenses $18,440
    Total: $62,392
    Times 3yrs $187,176

    Iowa State University’s MBA is a two-year program if done full-time. Assuming the same cost of books and of living expenses per year, which were not listed by ISU:

    Resident Tuition:$10,812 resident, Nonresident:$24,524
    Fees $587
    Books (assumed) $2,000
    Living (assumed)$18,440
    Total: $31,839 Nonresident:$45,551
    Times 2yrs $63,678 Nonresident $91,102

    MBA for 1/3 the cost.

  2. Just one more reason why it cannot be emphasized enough that the only people who should be going to law school nowadays are rich and connected people. Unless you get into a truly elite school, and are able to land a good gig at second year OCI, chances are very good that you're going to end up struggling to make ends at one point or another. The legal industry (don't confuse law with an actual profession like prostitution or medicine)is a shrinking field, and will continue to rely more and more on technological advances and outsourcing. And Sallie Mae doesn't give two shits if you have to pay $600 for a new water pump and throttle position sensor for your disintegrating 2002 Pontiac Grand Am.

    Believe otherwise at your own peril.

    1. In my former sh!tlaw travels I can say this is truly so. Lawyers with duct-taped shoes, driving Hyundais or ancient Buick LeSabres, "offices" with orange shag carpeting from the 1970's. Cardboard boxes stacked to the mildew-stained ceiling. Buying printer cartridges out the back of someone's minivan.

      You will bust your ass for clients who can barely pay you. The most important lesson learned: which case to refuse to take. Believe me.

      This is sh!tlaw kids. This is what it is really like if you don't land something good right out of school (preferably during).

      Be careful out there.

  3. I know of no recent lawyer making $80,000 a year. You either land biglaw and make $170K or you work shitlaw and scrape by to make $45K. There's precious little in between. Maybe a state law clerk might get paid $50K but those are usually short term and they don't lead to really good paying legal jobs.

    1. Not entirely true. There are solid regional law firms that start at $80-100K. But true enough as such positions are few in number and becoming fewer as regional law firms continue to merge or consolidate into Biglaw firms. Also, the Thomas Cooley graduates with a 3.0 GPA is not getting a position at a solid regional law firm either.

  4. The current standard ABA approved law School curriculum was developed in the 1880s!

    It is somewhat relevant if your students are going to be judges or practice alot of appellate law, but for like 90% of lawyers it is a complete anacronism.

    The ABA is truly the enemy of the general public AND the great Majority of practicing attorneys. A day of reckoning will come!

  5. For the vast majority of students, the ROI is negative, for example:

    Change in Salary

    Salary w/law degree - salary w/o law degree=Change in salary

    $35,000 - $35,000 = 0.

    Change in debt

    0-$265,000 = -$265,000

    Change in salary - change in debt

    0 - $265,000 = -$265,000

    Save yourself. Save your family. Do not go to law school. Do not incur $265,000 in nondischargeable debt. If you are in law school, do not throw good money after bad.

  6. Over the weekend, I went out to dinner with my wife and met up with some friends in NYC. We drank a bit too much and called in an Uber to drive us home. A Kia Sorrento picked us up and there was a stuffed animal in the back. I noticed the driver put on a cap and he kept looking at me through the rear view mirror. It suddenly hit me that the guy was an adversary I had on a case 3 years ago. I almost said something but decided to let the poor schmuck preserve his ounce of pride (or whatever he has left). This is the second time I see an attorney driving Uber for a living or to supplement his income. Going to law school today is akin to career suicide.

    1. Were Harry Chapin still alive he could write one hell of a song about that.

  7. My ex went to law school. She gave up her city job where she was making $80K a year. In Chicago. Safe as kittens. And she ended up in some ABA shithole in Atlanta.

    1. Isn't this the truth. You have a safe, decent job, even a good job with benefits, but it's not "going anywhere." You hit a ceiling.

      So you think, "with my experience, I can do better!"

      And the law schools say, "yes you can! yes you can! Average starting salary is $125k after law school!" Never mind that they intentionally misrepresent the state of the market (hey, the average of $180k and $70k is indeed $125k), and they have none of your best interests at heart...

  8. “where those lucky enough to secure employment typically make between $60,000 and $80,000.”

    I never had a legal career coming out of a TT. But I have gotten to know a few successful lawyers out of TTTTs. Nobody is paying toilet law grads $60-80k right out of law school.

    Several years into my career outside of law after graduating unemployed, I befriended a much older attorney. They were a TTTT grad and like most TTTT grads, they started their own firm after law school with a friend. They built the firm into a pretty successful business over the years. Their net take home was about $80k a year each. Eventually they decided to expand into the neighboring county. So they hired a TTTT grad to handle cases in the new office. They started the new grad at $40k. During the first year, they invested heavily in training the new grad to practice law. They only required the newbie to work 9-5, except when they were preparing for trial or they needed to meet a client. With the training, the partners felt they were paying the newbie more than they were earning for the firm. But the partners viewed the hire as an investment because this person could eventually be trusted to run the new office on their own.

    After a couple years, a local government job opened up that paid a little more money. The newbie associate applied for the government job and got a job offer. The newbie asked the partners for a raise and to make partner in the near future. The partners balked and let the newbie walk. The attitude of the partners was that they struggled over the years to build the firm. They also took a lot of time to train the newbie. If the newbie didn’t want to put in their dues, wait a few more years, and eventually earn more as a partner than they would in a government job, then they were fine with the newbie leaving. The partners were furious with the associate and felt that they had been burned. This law office was not one of those shit law horror stories mentioned on blogs. I asked the associate why they left the firm. They said they have law school loans and they wanted more money.

    I’m not arguing whether the partners where right or wrong. I’m just providing an anecdote that illustrates the reality out in the legal market. Small law offices are not making tons of money. Small law offices that do hire a new toilet law grad are not going to pay a lot of money. When these offices hire new grads and the new grad leaves after a few years for a job that pays more, the partners become less willing to hire grads in the future. And the partners chose to close the new office rather than try and hire someone else.

    That is not the only story like that. I have other friends in similar situations. One of my best friends graduated from a TTTT. They befriended an undergrad alum who ran a solo, toilet social security/disability firm. My friend’s only job offer was to work for the alum. But the alum only paid $30k and expected my friend to work 80 hours per week. After two years, my friend left the job for a local government job. The government job paid more and required less hours. My friend is no longer friends with the alum.

    If you think you will be different, then by all means take the TTTT plunge.

    1. The ivory-tower professors and administrators are shielded from these real-world economic realities, which produce the tug of war (and legitimate complaints) between the older partners and newer associates. If the debt was more serviceable, then people could afford to pay their dues and get a better result later, for all concerned.

      But no, those stunning, world-changing law review articles aren't going to write themselves...especially for less than six figures...

  9. I'm not a law school graduate. But I've been following the scamblogs for a couple of years now, and I'm getting more and more tired of this fucking law school shit, which is costing the taxpayers of this country untold billions in terms of funding law schools and footing the bill for student loan defaults.

    You call law students and applicants "lemmings," but don't the law school matriculants bear some, if not all, of the responsibility here? Sure a few are just gullible idiots and I guess worthy of our pity. But the rest? EVERYBODY with an IQ over 80 knows that there are already too many lawyers in this country, and that the U.S. DOES NOT NEED ONE MORE GODDAMN TTT, TTTT, OR TTTTT LAW SCHOOL GRADUATE. Yet these people line up to get in. It's like deciding to be a drug dealer: The country does not need one more drug dealer; Most drug dealers don't make enough money to get out of poverty; Yet people keep wanting to be drug dealers because they think it is easy money.

    I think all these law students and potential law students are thinking they can bypass the indignity of getting a shitty entry-level job and working their way up to a decent position. They are thinking their law school diploma will give them that "JD advantage" that will send them straight to a cushy job in some nice office somewhere, working bankers' hours.

    How 'bout this: The federal student loan program should make law school applicants and student get "student loan insurance," with the premiums based upon the likelihood of a graduate of their particular school will default. Premiums would have to be paid up front, before the loan money was disbursed. This would likely close down the TTTT and TTTTT schools overnight!

    1. Love the capital letters, I bet your facebook postings use phrases like "WAKE UP" and "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!". The federal student loan program needs to be shut down genius.

    2. I've said for a few years now that law students are not innocent little lambs deserving of our pity (and of relief from their debt). On the contrary, they are irresponsible dolts who are blaming others for their plight.

      The mainstream media are full of candid accounts of the law-school scam. Everyone knows about it, or should. People who nonetheless go to law school today deserve the full consequences of their stupidity.

    3. 2013 is the cutoff. Those who went prior to that deserve pity - it was confusing, data wasn't all that clear, there were no jobs anywhere else, etc.... After 2013, the picture was clear.

      Someone loses the house to a job loss, you feel sorry for them. Someone loses the house to a roulette addiction, they don't get sympathy.

    4. Given all of the information about law school, I've always wondered who is still attending toilet law schools. A Charlotte student recently complained that the law school aggressively pursued her by calling three times a day. But everyone gets telemarketer calls and scam emails on a daily basis. And most of us have avoided buying time shares or giving all our money to a Nigerian prince. I imagine the toilet law schools have figured out the kind of people they need to target. For instance, bipolar individuals experiencing manic episodes are extremely irresponsible and prone to being taken advantage of by scammers. Manics think everything is a great idea, and are prone to spending all their money, gambling, etc. They can also be grandiose and have increased goal directed activities. These are some of the kinds of people these toilets target nowadays.

    5. There are still plenty of kids going to non-elite colleges and pursuing majors like psychology, political science and sociology.

      These law schools know how to market themselves to Liberal Artists seeking to turn their otherwise useless degrees into careers. The sweet siren call of a program requiring no hard science background is too hard to resist. Some will make it. They will get the kind of law school grades that will enable them to get into a decent-sized firm where some actual mentoring MIGHT take place.

      But the vast majority will not. They will be spinning their wheels in fruitless attempts to get hired or, like so many, solo for a while until they call it quits. Many quietly disappear into retail, selling real estate, selling cars, going back to their old fields (often not possible).

      You get the picture. It's just a gamble that most will not win.

    6. Well, 7:53, think about the fable of the fox and the crow. Imagine those telephone calls: lots of assurance that the lemming is headed for a glorious career if only the lemming will sign the papers at Charlotte. Or maybe a good-cop–bad-cop ploy: "I, a lowly admissions officer, think that you deserve a chance here, but you won't get in anywhere else, and you'll lose your space here if you don't hurry."

    7. The great recession also confounds the "cut off" date. The self-interested deans and prawfs want to blame law's decline on the 2009 crash and blood-letting, when in reality pressure had been building up for years. Had 2009 not happened, the scam probably would have trundeled along for another ten years before reaching this state, which oddly enough is where we are now.

      "Peak law school" was probably around 2005, but at this point we're splitting hairs. Call it 2009, when the Great Recession popped all kinds of inflated bubbles, including higher education.


    Back on April 9, 2013, Paul Campos authored a Lawyer, Guns & Money entry labeled “Law School is Now For Rich Kids.” Read this portion:

    “While looking over the latest debt numbers for law graduates, it’s striking how high these numbers have gotten; conversely, it’s also how many people are graduating with no law school debt at all. Nationally, about 15% of the class of 2012 graduated with no law school debt, but this percentage varied widely between schools, from a high of 30% to a low of 0% (32% of UC-Irvine’s initial class graduated with no debt, but this is a special case as the entire initial class paid no tuition).

    You don’t have to be an ethnologist to detect a certain pattern in the distribution of these percentages as they relate to, among other things, matters of socioeconomic status. For example, here’s a half dozen schools with especially high percentages of graduates who incurred debt:

    Thomas Jefferson 98%
    Phoenix 97%
    Western New England 96%
    Regent 98%
    Appalachian 96%
    Texas Southern 100%

    Now here are six schools that had relatively low percentages of graduates taking out any law school loans:

    SMU: 70%
    Penn: 71%
    Fordham: 72%
    Texas: 74%
    Emory 76%
    Vanderbilt: 76%

    Note that the estimated cost of attendance at the schools with lots of debt-free graduates is on average quite a bit higher than that at the schools where essentially everyone is graduating with law school debt. So how is it that, for example, nearly three out of ten graduates of Fordham manage to graduate without taking out any law school loans?

    The answer, of course, is that lots of really rich kids go to Fordham (and SMU and Vanderbilt, etc.). “

    I don't quite agree with his statement. I suppose it's OK to attend a flagship law school, as long as you stay in state and you keep your expenses down to a minimum. If you come from modest means and you take on serious debt, don’t forget that you will also be asked to compete against these rich students for the good legal jobs. Of course, those grads can get help from wealthy, connected parents or family friends. Good luck facing those odds. Can you ask your uncle to make a few phone calls – and you land a job, and not a mere interview?

    1. What's his evidence for this part?: "Note that the estimated cost of attendance at the schools with lots of debt-free graduates is on average quite a bit higher than that at the schools where essentially everyone is graduating with law school debt." I think there's a lot of evidence that cost of attendance at toilets is roughly comparable to cost of attendance at good schools. I would say it's true that richer kids go to good schools, though. There are plenty of dumb, rich kids that could only get into Thomas Jefferson. The difference is that parents of such kids, who have the ability to fund such an education, have enough sense to realize it would be throwing money down the toilet and figure out something else there paste-eating mouthbreather can do that makes more sense.

    2. I don't agree that "it's OK to attend a flagship law school". First of all, what exactly is a flagship law school? The leading law school in the state? Quite a few states have only one law school—a horrible fifth- or sixth-tier dump such as the U of North Dakota, the U of South Dakota, or Vermont Law School. None of those is worth attending. And many states with numerous law schools may not have a single one that is worth attending: Florida, Ohio, and Texas are excellent examples.

  11. The law school model is not return on investment; it is squeezing as much money out of the federal loan program as possible. Of course they are not just cheating the feds; they are ruining thousands of lives.

    Moreover this whole thing is a racist scam run by supposedly liberal law deans.(see Nora Demleitner on Wikipedia)Minorities and the poor are suffering the most because they are paying full costs while whites and asians with advantages are getting scholarships. How can you not call this racial exploitation? Liberal deans prop up failing law schools by scamming blacks and latinos. Kind of like Al Gore; "but I buy energy credits." When are the civil rights leaders going to wake up to the so-called liberal deans????

    1. Targeting minority groups when whites no longer desire a product is nothing new. Public health officials have extensively studied the marketing strategies of tobacco companies. Once white middle class America got the message that smoking causes lung cancer, esophageal cancer, bladder cancer, COPD, etc., they cut back on their tobacco use. The tobacco companies weren’t just going to fold up and call it quits. They turned their attention to minorities! The tobacco companies market extensively in poor and minority neighborhoods now.

      The toilet law schools have followed the same path. Like the tobacco companies, the toilet law schools first disputed claims that their product was harmful. Bogus studies on the million dollar value of a law degree were published. Bogus claims of a market rebound were made year after year. There was a period of time when the tobacco companies marketed filtered cigarettes to appear safer. The law schools followed a similar marketing strategy by touting the “versatility” of the JD. If you didn’t land a job as an attorney, you could take one of those 100+ JD advantage jobs. None of these marketing tactics worked. Finally, the toilet law schools turned to minorities to fill the empty seats. Keep in mind, these schools never cared about recruiting minority students prior to the decline in applications.

      Unfortunately, the toilet law schools, particularly the infilaw con artists, have been successful at scamming minorities. It’s not hard to understand why. African Americans, Hispanics, and other minority groups face discrimination in our society. Law schools sell minorities on the idea that they have been excluded from all the riches to be made from practicing law. But the toilet law school will offer them the ticket to a better life.

    2. And those of the favored racial categories, whites in particular, are also the key beneficiaries of the law-school scam—the ones with the cushy six-figure jobs as deans, professors, and administrators.

    3. 7:06, your tobacco analogy is a good one, and while I agree with your last paragraph I think in the case of law schools their angle is more insidious. The flip side of what you wrote is that minorities have also been encouraged to believe that a certain numer of places are reserved for them by affirmative action. What doesn't get said is that to the extent such reserved seats exist in the real world they will almost all go to minority graduates of far more selective schools. The non-minority potential lemming at least has the slight advantage of looking at a world void of reserved seats, while reserved seats might make some potential minority lemmings think they have a non-existant leg up.

    4. Good point-no question they've followed the Big Tobacco playbook to the letter. But a whole bunch of people who do know better are attending TTTT law schools for one reason only: they've got a useless BA in liberal arts, and attending law school beats working at the GAP.
      The only innocent victim in this whole mess is the taxpayer, who is footing the bill for the cushy lives of the faculty and the reckless decisions of the students.


    Back on January 8, 2011, the New York Times published an epic piece from David Segal, under the banner headline “Is Law School a Losing Game?” Reflect on this opening sequence:

    “If there is ever a class in how to remain calm while trapped beneath $250,000 in loans, Michael Wallerstein ought to teach it.

    Here he is, sitting one afternoon at a restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a tall, sandy-haired, 27-year-old radiating a kind of surfer-dude serenity. His secret, if that’s the right word, is to pretty much ignore all the calls and letters that he receives every day from the dozen or so creditors now hounding him for cash.

    “And I don’t open the e-mail alerts with my credit score,” he adds. “I can’t look at my credit score any more.”

    Mr. Wallerstein, who can’t afford to pay down interest and thus watches the outstanding loan balance grow, is in roughly the same financial hell as people who bought more home than they could afford during the real estate boom. But creditors can’t foreclose on him because he didn’t spend the money on a house.

    He spent it on a law degree. And from every angle, this now looks like a catastrophic investment.

    Well, every angle except one: the view from law schools.”

    As we are all aware, law schools are run for the benefit of “professors” and administrators, not the students. In fact, the pupils are a mere mean$ to an end, i.e. big bags of federal student loan money. The “educators” are paid up front, in full. Low-ranked schools, which provide their graduates with garbage job prospects, also feel the need to charge $40K+ in annual tuition. But these “legal scholars” are quick to point out that they are performing a “public service.”

  13. This article is dead on. Basically what I've been saying for years. Education, especially law school, is one of the few areas where the product varies markedly but the cost is the same. These shitty laws schools have no basis to charge the same as the T-14. They do out of greed, to maintain professor and admin salaries, and because they fund many things that are outside the core educational mission like fancy libraries and buildings. Top laws schools can do that. Diploma mills cannot, and it's despicable there has not been more pushback.

  14. With the ABA insisting on opening law schools and refusing to limit the massive and continuing lawyer oversupply, it is a given that many lawyers will be driving Ubers for the foreseeable future. 1.31 million licensed lawyers in the US cannot be fully employed, as there are only 620,000 lawyer jobs in businesses. The self-employed lawyer jobs add another 160,000 jobs and a few thousand judges, but there are several times as many licensed lawyers as those jobs.

    People think that this will not affect me because I am going to a top law school. Not true. Unless you make partner and stay partner until you are ready to retire, you are going to be hard pressed to stay employed in a full-time, permanent lawyer job until you wish to retire. With about 25,000 first year lawyer jobs, there are only about 25 years of establishment jobs after graduation to go around. What do you do after you reach your 50s if there are not enough lawyer jobs for you to continue working?

    With the ABA screaming antitrust in the face of twice as many licensed lawyers as real jobs, people who go to law school will face life-long unemployment and underemployment and a huge scramble to work in the oversaturated and low paid self-employed lawyer market.

    Some practice areas are declining. Demand for legal services is not growing. The ABA is intent on ruining lawyers lives with its vigorous antitrust goals.

    The consent decree with the Justice Department does not mention lawyer unemployment or underemployment.

    An ABA that was trying to give most lawyers a reasonable chance of full-time employment would ask the Justice Department to approve stopping additional law school accreditations as well as a plan to sharply reduce future law school enrollment to better align with the demand for lawyers' services.

    And no, non-paying clients do not count. The fact that people may "need" legal services but cannot pay is not demand. Just like you cannot go to the store and buy food or rent a room to live in without the money to pay for it.


    On August 30, 2017, 2:58 pm, JDU denizen “nighthawk” started a thread labeled “General Sentiment.” Read the whole discussion, when you have a chance. But focus on the following remarks.

    Courtesy of “patenttrollnj” – on August 31, 2017 at 1:34 pm:

    "I think it's a miracle for any liberal arts graduate to earn above a $50k salary"

    No, it's much more nuanced than that.

    I went to an Ivy undergrad, and I can assure you that many liberal arts majors have done very well for themselves. We're talking history and English majors here, so I'm not referring to those who went into finance or business.

    As for STEM, my experience is that unless you go into medicine, dentistry or certain specific engineering fields, STEM can be a road leading nowhere. The pay is awful, and job security does not exist (I actually have some experience with STEM fields).

    I hate to say it, but it really becomes an issue of what school you graduate from. From a top undergrad, any major can lead you to a successful career, provided you play your cards right. From a lower-ranked undergraduate--good luck!”

    From user “anothernjlawyer,” on August 31, 2017 11:15 am:

    “I'd agree that anyone who has started law school in the past 5-6 years can't complain about sh!tty job prospects. The scamblogs have been thriving for at least that long and any reasonable consumer should know that a law degree guarantees nothing but debt.

    I started law school in 2003, before the scamblog movement. The schools, my college professors, parents, classmates, and pretty much every social / cultural reference I remember being exposed to confirmed that law school was a path to a good career. Remember Apollo Creed in Rocky telling kids to "be a doctor, be a lawyer..." we grew up with a cultural image of lawyers as being socially and financially successful. You figured that if you studied your a!! off, graduated, studied your a!! off again and passed the bar, and then worked your a!! off, or were at least willing to, that you'd have the opportunity to have a good career.

    For a huge percentage of law graduates, that's simply not true. It's not a question of being "owed" a good job; rather, its having, before starting law school, a reasonable expectation that there'd be good jobs available for more than the top 5% of graduates.

    It's like buying a piece of property to build a home. You realize that the house won't build itself, and that nobody's going to build it for you just because you bought the property, but the property gives you the opportunity to build. A law degree is like buying that piece of property only to find out that there's a huge sinkhole underneath it when you start to lay your foundation.”

    Prospective law students tend to dismiss this sentiment, from those who went through the process, instead relying on their own unrealistic expectations. And the law schools are only too happy to charge them $40K+ per year in annual tuition. Good luck getting a positive return on that "investment" in yourself.

  16. This "going to law school" fad, which has gone on much too long, reminds me of the "getting a psychology degree" craze of about 20 years ago. It might have just been a regional trend in my area, but back then it seemed like every other college-bound high school kid wanted to major in psychology.

    In 1997 my niece graduated from high school. They had this pre-graduation event in which all of the graduating seniors were paraded across a stage and they gave a little blurb about their achievements and what they planned to do after high school. About a third of them wanted to "do something with computers," whatever that means. A girl with Down's Syndrome wanted to be a "doctor." Another third, mostly girls, said they wanted to got to such-and-such university/college and major in psychology. I remember thinking that if their guidance counselors would have put down their bongs long enough to actually, um, counsel these kids, they might have asked them, "What exactly do you want to DO with a psychology degree?" Did anyone explain that the little rectangle of paper they would get at the end of 4 years of college would be useless, unless they invested considerably more time and money to get a master's degree (plus hundreds of hours of internship) to be a licensed counselor--or go on to get a doctorate-level degree to become a full-bird psychologist? To this day, I come across people in their 40's with psychology degrees working at shitty entry-level jobs that have nothing to do with psychology.

    So I'm guessing that academic counseling in universities is still bullshit, like it was in my day. Whenever a college student professes to be "pre-law," somebody without an interest in getting the student to spend another $150K to get a useless degree, needs to assess the student's motives and expectations. "Just what do you want to DO with a law degree?" is the core question.

    "My mother is a managing partner in a successful law firm that defends corporations from lawsuits filed by patent trolls. When she retires, I plan to take over the firm." (Good answer.)

    "I am (insert minority ethnicity here). I have a full-ride scholarship to Yale/Harvard. I want to work for a non-profit organization that represents indigent defendants in wrongful conviction cases. I know I won't get rich doing this, but it is my life's passion." (Good answer.)

    "I know I don't have a high GPA, and my LSAT score was 145. But I still think I'd make a good lawyer, 'cuz I think you can do anything you want to do, as long as you put your mind to it." (Fucking stupid answer. Stay away from law school.)


Web Analytics