Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Thank You and Take Care


Starting Position: When I started this blog, we had the following sources for info regarding the law school scam: Temporary Attorney, Big Debt Small Law, JDU, AutoAdmit, Top Law Schools, Above the Law, a single post from Calico Cat, unperson at Exposing the Law School Scam, State of Beasley, the Ramen Noodle Eating Law Student, an Amir Efrati article in the Wall Street Journal on September 24, 2007, and an October 31, 2009 economic working paper from Vanderbilt law professor Herwig Schlunk entitled “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be…Lawyers.” Loyola 2L had already left the scene. There were also a couple of obscure state bar reports pertaining to employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also posted some data. We also had some employment charts from NALP and total enrollment and graduate numbers from the American Bar Association.

In sum, there was a paucity of information on the topic. At the same time, law schools – including third tier commodes – were casually listing their “placement rate” as 98% or higher. The pigs did not need to provide any support for their assertions on their websites and other marketing materials. While sites such as JDU, AutoAdmit, TLS, and ATL may have been harsh and judgmental in tone, they were correct in their overall assessment: low ranked law schools are garbage, because they provide weak-ass job prospects for their graduates. In stark contrast, Frank Wu authored an April 22, 2009 USN&WR piece labeled “Why Law School Is for Everyone.” One example used by this serial dean and “law professor,” in that post:

“Students have been ahead of their teachers for some time. They have long been coming to law school planning to adapt their training to myriad pursuits. They benefit from their ability to interpret a statute, even if they end up opening a restaurant.” [Emphasis mine]

Anyone with a brain stem could simply point out that a restaurant or business owner is fully capable of reading a statute – and then hiring a lawyer to represent their interests. That route would cost them a fraction of the time or cost of attaining a law degree. Apparently, many prospective law students couldn’t be bothered to have such critical thinking skills. Furthermore, any online discussion then by “professors” regarding “legal education” was limited to arcane concepts or their next law review article.

Since That Time: After getting involved with blogging about the law school cartel, the message magnified. The posts were sharp, in order to garner the attention of prospective law students. At one point, there were dozens of active scam-blogs. Then there were three watershed moments. Brian Tamanaha wrote a Balkin entry entitled “Wake Up, Fellow Law Professors, to the Casualties of Our Enterprise” – on June 13, 2010. Next, on January 8, 2011, the New York Times published an epic article by David Segal, under the headline “Is Law School a Losing Game?” And Paul Campos started his blog, Inside the Law School Scam, on August 7, 2011.

With those voices in the fold, they attracted contributions from the following: Jordan Weissmann of The Atlantic, Steven J. Harper of Northwestern University, the folks at Law School Transparency. Will Meyerhofer also shed some light on the gutter “profession” in November 2010. He is a former Biglaw associate and a current psychotherapist. Also, take a look at this Youtube video from user "jaimekid2." There are now literally hundreds of articles pertaining to the law school scam, since that time. Most importantly, member schools are now required to comply with, and publish, ABA Employment Summary Reports.

https://lawlemmings.tumblr.com/research

In fact, the link above contains a plethora of evidence about the law school scam. This page furnishes hyperlinks to several dozens of news article on this topic. It also provides video commentary from prominent critics of “legal education.” If you know anyone still considering this foolish gamble, then send them that link. At the bottom of the page, Meyerhofer refers to law school tuition as “blood money.” He also notes that he sees dozens of lawyers every week, and he points out that some of them owe $240K in student debt with abysmal job prospects. At the 0:44 mark of his clip, he states “From my perspective, Bernie Madoff couldn’t have pulled a better scam.” If your friend doesn’t have time to listen to a one minute and 14 second video, from a former corporate lawyer, then let them make the trek. And don’t let them sleep on your couch when they graduate.

Moving Forward: I have now profiled all 207 ABA-accredited law schools, and that was one of my goals when I started this blog. JAG is not included since it is reserved for a Master of Laws degree in Military Law. It is not a diploma mill, and students are not financially crushed by being charged outrageous sums in tuition.

Also, I don’t want a scintilla of credit for any of the law school closures. In the end, the pigs’ greed and avarice led to those results. At some point, even those of average intelligence can figure out that it is not viable to take on an additional $160K+ in non-dischargeable debt – for a TTT law degree. I am happy that fewer have been victimized by the law school scam, but those young men and women looked at the information and made the choice to avoid financial ruin. Many others let their egos make the decision to go to law school.

I have written this blog for over eight years and four months. That is longer than a president stays in office, when he serves two full terms. At this point, I have thoroughly documented the law school scam. I am not interested in providing updates on low bar passage rates in Alabama, New Jersey, or Wyoming. Frankly, it is depressing to post about all-time low pass rates. While it used to be slightly comical to highlight law deans crying about how the bar exams are too expensive and difficult for their dumb graduates, that is no longer the case. These “legal scholars” have knowingly skewed data, in order to get people to enroll – even though they are aware that the U.S. lawyer job market is glutted and shrinking.

Conclusion: In the final analysis, prospective law students and their families now have access to good information regarding tuition, total cost of attendance, student debt figures, and the employment outlook. We now have transparency in place, and that helps explain why fewer people have enrolled in law school, in recent years. No one should feel sorry for the cretins who now willingly take on an additional $175K+ in non-dischargeable student debt – for a JD from a fourth tier dump or second tier sewer. After all, these young men and women have earned – or are working on completing – a four year college degree.

It is now essentially common knowledge that law school is a bad idea for the vast majority of students. Applicants now have access to ABA Employment Reports. They know the up-front costs, which are ridiculous. Today, prospective law students have no one to blame but themselves. You can find this information with a basic 10-15 minute search online. If you cannot perform this research – for your own financial future and well-being – then how in the hell do you expect to competently represent others in routine and complicated legal matters? 

Lastly, I am sure that I overlooked several contributors to this movement. I hope that they will forgive that oversight. I want to thank all of the readers and commenters who improved the discussion. And most importantly, thank you for helping inform prospective law students about the inherent dangers of law school.

50 comments:

  1. I've been a fan of yours since Day 1, when you were trashing Drake. Thanks for all you do and have done.

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  2. Nando, thanks for your hard work and contributions to expose the law school scam. You really pushed awareness of how these schools rip people off to benefit a psychopathic few. Back in 2006 there was virtually nothing warning students that law school is a sucker's bet. Google searches for "law schools" and "lawyer salaries" made it sound like a law degree was a money-printing machine. I remember an article about average partner salaries for the Top 25 law firms in NYC; salaries upwards of $2 million per year back in 2006. I thought I would be driving a Lambo within ten years.

    Law schools published outright lies regarding starting salaries. I had a book published by USNews that compiled each school's bogus numbers. Half of the schools claimed average starting salaries of $125k a year. Again, there was so little back then warning students about law school. The calico blogs were in a dusty corner of the internet where the OL's would never see them.

    Eventually things changed. It was bound to happen. So many people were ripped off by the law school predators and they could not all be dismissed as losers unable to network or study hard for exams. Pissed off graduates began posting their grievances online, but your blog stood out. It became a Martindale directory of shitty law schools. The guidestar forms you linked to in each entry were real eye-openers. People knew that law schools were fabricating placement data, but those forms explained why. The law scammers made a killing off the students. Deans earning over half a million per year; loutish "professors" paid deep six-figure salaries to work five hours per week. Those forms really showed why some will happily lie and ruin somebody's life. It's all about the money, no matter how much the scammers sing about pro-bono and "giving something back."

    When you started blogging the idea that law school was a financial assrape was still contested. Remember all those trolls claiming scam bloggers and disgruntled grads were losers who should just "get over it?" As if $200k+ in student loans and job prospects rivalling a high school graduate were something to just dust off. Thankfully you stuck with it and exposed these pigs for the soulless, two-faced, money-grabbing sociopaths that they are. You are right about Segal's NYT article back in early 2011. IMO that was the opening of Pandora's box that the scammers never recovered from. His article targeted the yuppies that the law schools so fervently rely on for student loan cash. That was the most viewed and e-mailed article on NYT's website for a good two weeks. All those readers e-mailing friends and family... law school enrollment fell off a cliff afterwards. On a personal note, your blog provided a great benefit to me. It was one of the main reasons I dropped out of law school after one semester.

    I wish you the best, Nando. You provided enough information for 0L's to make an informed decision on law school. They are lucky today to benefit from so much helpful and readily-available data, and have nobody to blame but themselves if they persist in enrolling and get fleeced.

    Best Regards,

    Turde

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  3. Thanks for your tireless and noble work. Were it only possible to know how many took all the good advice to heart and were thereby saved.

    -C

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  4. Goodbye, my friend. You were the blunt object the world needed. Best of luck to you and yours.

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  5. Thanks. You have done a great service to countless people who were on the threshold of making a big mistake. You have also validated the decision of those of us who, many years ago, looked into the future, saw a troubling picture, and steered clear of law school. God bless.

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  6. You deserve a MacArthur Genius Grant, Nando! I will miss this blog.

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  7. Thank you, Nando. Third Tier Reality has been a magnificent project. Your long-term commitment, your persistence and eloquence, has guided the scamblog movement from its fringe early days to the breakthrough of its message into mainstream discourse.

    You have told the truth, saved lives, and made a lot of arrogant scammers uncomfortable. The law school scammers deserved every bit of your sarcasm, every filthy toilet picture, and then some.

    Even if this is the last TTR post, I hope that you continue to leave an occasional comment at OTLSS and elsewhere. My sense is that, even though the importance of scamblogging has significantly declined, it is not zero.

    The Law School Cartel still exists and has plenty of resources, though it has been wounded. If anything, it is more desperate than ever to refresh its income streams by peddling illusions to confused young people.

    The scammers will pretend that they have addressed past defects in legal education. They will assert that they have been unfairly caricatured in the media. They will pretend that they now offer a transformative and innovative educational experience leading to meaningful opportunities galore in the digitized and globalized future. They will peddle a whole bunch of dubious degree programs, not just the JD. They will quietly chip away at transparency and transparency enforcement mechanisms.

    So even as we sail into 2018, I think it may still be beneficial to answer their hype, even if just occasionally.

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    1. I concur. Nando has contributed a great deal to the anti-scam movement.

      I don't blame him for devoting his time to worthier pursuits; I too am inclined to do so. For years I have said that anyone ass enough to enroll in law school, especially at an über-toilet, deserves no sympathy. In a sense, there's really nothing more to be said.

      Yet, as Dybbuk points out, the odious scamsters will continue to reinvent the scam. We probably need to keep our movement going at least at a low simmer, however tired we may be after years of valiant—and successful—anti-scam campaigns.

      In any event, Nando, you have gratitude, appreciation, and best wishes.

      Delete
  8. There definitely comes a point where it's time to move on, and now seems as good a time as any. Thank you, Nando, for all your hard work in exposing the law school cartel, from the ABA to the publishing houses to the lazy-ass professors, for the lying charlatans they truly are.

    I really wish I discovered this blog before blindly enrolling in my fourth tier pile of steaming dogshit, but the scamblog movement was still in its infancy back in 2007. By the time I realized how badly I got played, it was already too late.

    But not for others....

    Now, as you correctly pointed out, there is transparency. Today, prospective law students have all the information they need to make an informed decision before signing their entire life away in the name of becoming a lawyer.

    People who ignore the advice you and others have provided through sad personal experience do so at their peril, and do not deserve any sympathy should they find themselves up to their eyeballs in debt and barely eking out a living. In fact, today's law school lemmings deserve nothing but derision and mockery.

    Best of luck to you, good sir. And best of luck to all the other scambloggers who have devoted countless hourse exposing the law school and higher education scam. If it prevents people from making the same mistake we did, then it is all worth it.

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  9. http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/are-law-schools-on-the-comeback-trail/article_d2455b40-5bcc-5b86-a7c2-65278ca9374b.html

    On December 25, 2017, the Winston-Salem Journal posted a John Newsom piece labeled “Are law schools on the comeback trail?” Read the following portion:

    “Economic recovery

    The Great Recession hit law firms hard. Some laid off attorneys. Many cut back on hiring new law school grads. Prospective students shied away from borrowing $100,000 or more for a degree that no longer guaranteed a high-paying job.

    From 2010 to 2015, according to the American Bar Association, the number of law school applicants fell by nearly 40 percent. Overall enrollment at U.S. law schools this fall stood at a little more than 110,000 — 25 percent below the peak in 2010.

    North Carolina’s six law schools — Campbell, Duke, Elon, N.C. Central, UNC-Chapel Hill and Wake Forest — fared a little better. Applications at all six are down 35 percent since 2011, according to the numbers they reported to the ABA. Combined enrollment declined 10 percent.

    Since 2015, however, the Law School Admission Council reported increases in people sitting for the LSAT in each of the past two years. The number of people taking the exam is up about another 25 percent this year.

    Officials at all six N.C. law schools say their applications are running ahead of last year. Applications at UNC-Chapel Hill are “slightly up,” according to a spokesman there. Wake Forest reports a “significant jump.” Applications to Campbell University’s law school as of mid-December are up about 8 percent over a year ago.

    Jay Shively, assistant dean for admissions and financial aid at Wake Forest University School of Law, said more undergraduates are showing up to hear his presentations during college visits.

    “My gut tells me that there’s more interest in law schools than there’s been in the past few years,” Shively said. “Employment may not be at pre-bust levels, but it’s definitely a healthier job market than it was five or six years ago.”

    In the wake of the Great Recession, some law firms are revamping their traditional partnership management arrangements and starting to embrace innovation and new technology. Luke Bierman, dean of the Elon University School of Law, said such changes have been wrenching for those in the legal profession”

    The article also attributes some of this interest to young people wanting to push back against the current administration. This is foolish, as the vast majority of them will never engage in high-level political work. Also, today’s applicants are ignorant of the fact that law firms are starting to rely more heavily on new technology. Does that strike you as meaning that these law offices will hire tons more freshly-minted attorneys? The information is out there, and these young men and women have no one to blame but themselves - when they end up owing $180,253.81 in non-dischargeable debt, while making $43K per year.

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  10. Nando, I take this article to mean that you are going to stop posting on the blog, or that you are going to slow down. Hate to see you go because your posts are very entertaining, but I think many would agree that the "scamblog" movement is getting to a point of diminishing returns. The lemmings still applying to low-tier law schools are probably the kinds of dumbasses who would not be swayed by, or even aware of, the facts about the law school scam. It's doubtless, however, that you have saved countless smart, middle-class college kids from financial and personal ruin.

    I'm thinking the next battle will have to occur at the policy-making level. The scam will continue to make money for the law school pigs until this country's federally guaranteed student loan largesse is reined in. That may occur naturally over the next 10-20 years as law school graduates' inability to pay back their loans starts costing taxpayers more and more money and lawmakers continue their never-ending quest to at least give the appearance of trying to shrink government spending.

    But that's not why I'm commenting here. I did not go to law school and I don't plan to. I'm writing this because your blog has been an inspiration to me. I ran a blog for about four years that exposed the ineptitude and corruption of a number of local politicians where I live. I cam across your blog when I was researching one of my main targets, who was a graduate of one of the low-tier toilets you wrote about. I was impressed by the success of you blog as indicated by the pageview counter. You seem to have hit upon a formula that works: Stay within a general subject area, but discuss enough subtopics to keep it interesting; Lots of content and frequent posts, which likely leads to readers seeing the blog on search engines; a writing style that invokes both and intellectual and emotional response.

    Using your example I was able to eventually get good search engine placement, which made my blog more popular, which in turn improved search engine placement, and so on--a sort of "positive feedback" phenomenon. And my blog changed things. It was followed by a number of journalists and news anchors who were embarrassed by the fact that I reported stuff that they had previously shied away from. Certain local officials became increasingly unpopular and came under more and more scrutiny. This led to a prominent local politician being investigated for ethical and sexual misconduct, which in turn led to his prosecution and removal from office. Others have either dramatically changed their behaviors or have decided not to run for re-election.

    The point I'm trying to make, Nando, is that you have shown us that the Internet is a great equalizer. We "little people" with axes to grind are no longer condemned to just tilting at windmills. A few intelligent and determined individuals with a compelling message can now move mountains. That knowledge is a priceless gift that you and the other scambloggers have given us.

    Again, thanks.

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  11. Nando, Thank you for all your hard work in showing up predatory law schools for the money-grubbing scams they are. But I really hate to see you go. There is still so much work to be done.

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  12. Nando,

    I agree with Dybbuk123. "Third Tier Reality has been a magnificent project. Your long-term commitment, your persistence and eloquence, has guided the scamblog movement from its fringe early days to the breakthrough of its message into mainstream discourse.

    You have told the truth, saved lives, and made a lot of arrogant scammers uncomfortable."

    You have truly done the Lord's work, Nando. Thank you and God bless.

    P.S. I also agree you should be awarded the MacArthur genius grant.

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  13. "Carolina Law is known for turning Tar Heel lawyers into leaders. We need your help now to continue that tradition."

    No. Sorry.

    Thanks for the blog!

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  14. This was a really great blog!!

    It taught me quite a bit about how the legal industry REALLY works, and I laughed my ass off while doing so.

    As noted, the information about the scam is out there now. Prospective law students can make an informed decision about whether to attend. This is far more than I had when I applied to law school in the late 1990s.

    Thank you! Be well!

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  15. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

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  16. Thank you Nando, for the years of your persistence in revealing the inherent dangers of attending law school. The financial risk entailed is just too high; something most prospective law school students do not realize (and cannot, for obvious reasons) in the beginning. Most likely it is in the later years (probably 2L and later) that people understand that something is very wrong with legal education. When you start making the monthly loan payments, and considering what you actually earn, it becomes very clear that legal education nowadays (and probably even decades ago) makes no sense whatsoever.

    Attending law school was the biggest mistake in my life. The magnitude of financial risk and the years spent on legal education makes attending law school a life-altering decision.

    Thank you Nando once again. You have done more than enough to inform people just how bad it is out there. If in 2018 people still decide to embark themselves on years of debt slavery, then I wish all the best of luck to them.

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  17. Your blog probably saved my life. I graduated from law school in 2002, and was largely unaware of the scam until after graduation when I couldn't find a job. At the time, I thought something was wrong with me. Your blog has taught me that I am not alone; that others were also scammed. On some level, I have found solis in knowing that I was a victim of an elaborate scam. I feel less of an unemployed loser with a huge student loan balance and more like a victim after reading your blog. Nando, you helped me through some very, very, very dark moments in life. Thank you for everything.

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    1. You must have been the 1% unemployed. Because when I enrolled at my toilet law school in 2002, every law school was claiming 99% employment with average private practice salaries in the six figures. The dean of the toilet and the dean of career services said EVERYONE gets a job, even the graduate at the bottom of the class! Countless employers came to the school every year for OCI! And we didn’t need to worry at all about borrowing $150k to attend the toilet. All we had to do was work at a private law office where we would be paid six figures.

      Of course, that message changed after we all struck out at OCI. “Most people don’t get jobs through OCI.” We needed to “network” and blast resumes. I had good grades and was on law review. That doesn’t matter when you attend a toilet. Three years later when I graduated in 2005, I was the 1% unemployed. Strange, I must have only socialized with the losers in law school. None of my friends managed to get a job paying anywhere near six figures. Many of them took non legal jobs. Others went solo. Looking back, I had a funny experience when I went to a law career fair. One law firm refused to even accept my resume. Ha! They could have been polite like the other firms and just taken my resume and recycled it. But one firm flat out said they aren’t interested in hiring me.

      A few months after passing the bar and getting rejected for every job that I applied, I confronted the dean of career services (a pig fired a few years later for unethical conduct. She never worked in legal ed again. The pig didn’t even practice law after getting fired). The pig claimed that many law grads were struggling to find work. The legal market was in a rut. But there were plenty of openings. I just needed to keep sending out resumes.

      The sales pitch to prospective marks was far more different. The toilet posted the same bogus job stats after I graduated. Although the toilet no longer posts the bogus job stats from the 2000s, the old issues of the alumni magazine are still available on the website. In the 2006 issue, the dean bragged about the bogus 2005 employment stats.

      I’m sorry you were scammed like so many others. I have taken great pleasure watching the law school scam blog movement take down this vile industry.

      Delete
    2. @6:05, yep, this times 1000%.

      @7:29 and Nando: Agreed, thank you for your voice these last eight years. I too was thinking I did something wrong and it was all my fault somehow...even though I have been employed ever since 2005 in my "JD Advantage" capacity. All the blogs serve a purpose, and this one more than most. It gave me and many others the perspective to speak our minds, and hopefully warn others in the process.

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  18. Nando,

    I came to your blog many years ago because I was interested in law school. Your blog probably saved my life. I decided not to attend and can see now how it was a foolish idea to begin with.

    Thank you very much!

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  19. Nando - wow, eight years - I don't think I consistently posted for even a year back during that wave of scam bloggers. I appreciate your persistence. I'm glad we were able to see the day when not only enrollment began to tank but a few of these dumps even closed their door.

    Ultimately, I think the scam blogs primed the pump, but it was the critics in more established positions who really brought the pressure down on the system. The next step is for policy makers to limit the loans - which is actually a possibility right now.

    Nonetheless, your longevity brought great exposure to just how bad most of these schools are. Profile after profile clearly depicted the lousy employment rates, low salaries, and exorbitant cost of attendance at most law schools. In reality, the results are probably even worse because the self-reported data likely skews in the law schools' favor.

    While anyone who attends law school - without a really concrete plan (full scholarship, ongoing legal work experience while in school, etc.) - is a fool, I still pity that fool who ends up with six figures of debt and the same or worse job options than he would have had with just an undergraduate liberal arts degree. It's a dark place to be.

    Thank you, Nando, for your Herculean efforts in exposing the scam. May we one day know that we were the spark (of which you were a much larger part) that helped set the entire rotten system ablaze.

    In a few years, I hope there is nothing left but the metaphorical charred remains of most of the schools your profiled.

    -Esq. Never

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  20. Thank you for all your work Nando. You have been and remain a critical part of the law school reform movement.

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  21. You're a warrior, Nando. I wish you happiness and success in your future endeavors.

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  22. Nando, You are hero who saves lives. I am a lawyer for the Coast Guard and our business is saving ten lives a day. I believe you surpass that number. Thank you so much for your courage. Coastie Lawyer

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, from all of you guys. I do not compare myself to the women and men who defend this country. In the end, I am glad to have played a supporting role in educating prospective law students - and the general public - about the terrible gamble known as "legal education."

      The "profession" is glutted - and outsourcing and automation will continue to take work away from lawyers. Yet, tuition keeps climbing to outrageous levels. Deans and “law professors” will point out that many segments of society cannot afford a good attorney to represent them in legal matters. However, you cannot reasonably expect to repay $155K+ in student loans by providing free legal advice to people.

      The scam-blogs provided an outlet for JDs who struck out while trying to make it into the field. In years past, unemployed law grads simply internalized their failure. Others who ended up working doc review or as insurance adjusters also saw themselves as “losers.” And the law school swine continued to publish, on their websites and marketing DVDs, “We have a 98.5% employment placement rate.” They did so without any evidence, and the ABA and NALP allowed this nonsense. Without these blogs, perhaps we do not see graduates such as the ones below to go on air to tell their stories.

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/lean-times-for-law-school-grads/

      March 9, 2012 CBS Evening News report, by national correspondent Chip Reid, entitled “Lean times for law school grads.” The gentleman here serves pizza, with his New York Law School diploma. Here is the most poignant moment from that interview:

      “Kevin Johnson wanted be a lawyer all his life. He graduated from New York Law School last February. His lifelong dream is to serve the needy as a lawyer but, for now he's serving pizza.

      "I am not a lawyer," Johnson said. "I'm a server. Lawyers do lawyer things. Lawyers work at law firms. Lawyers do public policy work... Lawyers don't serve pizza.

      Johnson graduated in the top 25 percent of his class and was confident he'd find a job with a Juris Doctorate degree, especially when he saw his law school reporting an employment rate of almost 90 percent on its website.”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i3ARRNbfn8

      CNN segment with Tony Harris, from August 27, 2010, labeled “Law school grad works in coffee shop.” The young lady in this clip earned her law degree from Georgia State University. She was making $7.50 an hour as a barista.

      http://www.wnyc.org/story/71849-trouble-with-the-law-laid-off-attorneys-pursue-new-paths/

      Back on April 8, 2010, WNYC reporter Ailsa Chang ran a story headlined “Trouble with the Law: Laid-Off Attorneys Pursue New Paths.” One of the JDs profiled was a Pace Law grad who landed an assistant manager job at Radio Shack. At the time, he had passed both the New York and Connecticut bar exams.

      The law grads and licensed attorneys in those news links above were working at jobs that can be performed by people with a high school diploma. Yet, they each earned a Bachelor’s degree and a JD – and they incurred large sums of non-dischargeable student debt in the process. The schools gladly raked in the money, and they didn’t give these young men and women a second thought.

      Delete
    2. Maybe the problem is with the state bar associations that don't allow lawyers to charge prices that are affordable to poor and working people. How would that affect the whole industry?

      Delete
    3. State and local bar associations do not set legal fees, either flat charges or hourly rates. The "fee schedules" of about 50 years are ago were declared illegal that long ago.

      The problem is that attorneys with huge student loan debt have to charge more to be able to cover their student loan payments.

      Not to mention office overhead which can run 60%+ of actual fees brought in the door. Not to mention the billed fees that are never paid, and certainly not to mention the massive number of hours that simply can't be billed as the bill would be too high.

      In my area, most "firms" are merely office sharers. There are no benefits, so most are paying their own health insurance premiums, life insurance, disability. No pension and vacation means not earning anything as not working. It is a financially brutal scenario.
      -C

      Delete
  23. Nando,

    I cannot exaggerate the impact you have had on my life. I have told my story before. I was scammed by my toilet law school in the early 2000s. I believed the fictitious stats. I graduated unemployed, with $150k in debt, in the mid 2000s.

    One of the only true statements Trump made during the campaign was that the Iraq War was a disaster. The war was not going well in the mid 2000s. Army enlistments were way down so they granted waivers to felons. I didn’t support the war, but I felt an obligation to sign up. The Army was also offering bonuses and student loan repayment. So I enlisted, went through basic, volunteered for Airborne, and eventually went to Iraq. With the student loan repayment, bonus, and tax free salary while deployed to Iraq, I was able to pay off the student loan debt. I was not the only JD to follow that path. I met other JDs that enlisted as well.

    I always held out hope that I would eventually get a legal job because of my service. Then I came across your blog around 2011. I quickly realized I had no future in law. The military does offer pensions after 20 years of service. But the Army was drawing down at that time. So I got out of the Army and went to med school. I know I am very fortunate to be in medicine now. Many friends have told me I made the right decision and I am very lucky.

    Two days ago, I was seeing a new patient. I really do care about my patients. The patient took the time to tell me that I had really good bedside manner and thanked me for taking care of him. Many other patients have thanked me as well. It feels good to help people and make them feel better. I wouldn’t be where I am without Third Tier Reality. There are other scam blogs that have greatly contributed as well. But Third Tier Reality is the first scam blog that I came across and drove the point home that I needed to give up ever having a legal career. I also want to thank all of the commenters who were scammed or suffered the indignities of toilet law and told their story. All of you not only helped me, but you have saved countless people from going to law school. The message is out. I have met numerous people who opted for medicine or other careers over law.

    I received a Bronze Star over in Iraq. If I ever met Nando, I would give it to him. I spent a year in the sand box and didn’t really accomplish much. We did more harm than good over there. But Nando helped save thousands of people from unemployment and financial hell. He endured years of vicious personal attacks for telling the truth. Go back to the posts about uber toilets like Cooley, and you can read the silly comments from the law school defenders attacking Nando. One Cooley student claimed he was going to graduate and make $150k doing court appointed work! Haven’t heard from that tool in years.

    Thank you Nando. Best of luck to you and your family. I hope we still hear from you on OTLSC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a lawyer of 40 years.

      I have managed to make a living as a solo.

      Bedside manner is the key to success. Taking care of your clients/patients. They only want to know that someone cares for them and their situation. Even if the news is bad.

      If one does not care about people and their situation, one should not be in the "people business."

      -C

      Delete
  24. "After you graduate from law school, you'll be living in a van down by the river"

    But only if you are one of the lucky ones and can afford a van.

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  25. Nando, I wasn't going to say anything, but I can't restrain myself, so I say thank you. I don't think I'm being presumptuous when I say, on behalf of all of us, best wishes and God bless.

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  26. Nando, you've had a positive and lasting influence on the lives of so many by supplying information that could not be found elsewhere. Many thanks, and best wishes for the future!

    ReplyDelete
  27. https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/why-did-17-million-students-go-to-college/27634

    Back on October 20, 2010, Richard Vedder’s piece “Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College?” appeared in the Chronical of Education. Mr. Vedder was then a professor of economics at Ohio University. Look at the following portion of that article:

    “Over 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees), along with over 80,000 bartenders, and over 18,000 parking lot attendants. All told, some 17,000,000 Americans with college degrees are doing jobs that the BLS says require less than the skill levels associated with a bachelor’s degree.”

    I focused on the law school scam because most people understand that a Bachelor’s degree is now the equivalent of a high school diploma in prior generations. This has been the case for several years. Today, tons of college grads work at movie theaters, call centers, and in retail. However, there is something especially pernicious about earning a “professional” degree – and spending seven years in post-secondary institutions – and then facing garbage job prospects. Plus, it is an expensive endeavor. Getting into law school should be something of an accomplishment.

    Sitting in a testing center for several hours, early on a Saturday morning, with a bunch of other college students or grads shows the competitive nature. And most of those young men and women have also taken prep courses, or studied old LSAT exams for countless hours. Now, several dozens of ABA-accredited law schools are accepting people with 141 and 142 LSAT scores.

    https://www.powerscore.com/lsat/help/scale.cfm

    Based on this LSAT conversion table – from June 2014-February 2017 – a 141 exam score would place you at an estimated 15.8th percentile, among everyone who took the test. This would include those who don’t really want to be lawyers – and the relative few who didn’t prepare for the exam. Now, how in the hell does that constitute an accomplishment? Beating your 10 year old nephew at chess is a bigger intellectual achievement.

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/education/decades-pushing-bachelors-degrees-u-s-needs-tradespeople

    Look at this August 29, 2017 PBS NewsHour report, by Matt Krupnick, entitled “After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more tradespeople.” Check out the following segment:

    “The United States has 30 million jobs that pay an average of $55,000 per year and don’t require a bachelor’s degree, according to the Georgetown center. People with career and technical educations are actually slightly more likely to be employed than their counterparts with academic credentials, the U.S. Department of Education reports, and significantly more likely to be working in their fields of study.”

    Hopefully, more high school students get the message and follow this more secure, much less expensive path. The United States has a glut of lawyers, and there is simply no valid reason to incur an additional $170K+ in non-dischargeable debt for a TT law degree. Small law firms and legal aid positions are not going to pay a JD anywhere near that amount in salary. Furthermore, most non-law employers are still leery of hiring recent law grads and freshly-minted attorneys who are not practicing law. You have to look out for your own financial well-being. Going into serious education debt so that your “professors” can keep up their vacation homes – or buy another new Jaguar – is not smart.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hey Nando, sorry if I’m a little late to the party, but before I give a proper written farewell, let me just make a few points...
    1. Congrats on hitting the 6 MILLION view mark!
    2. Congrats on hitting the T3 schools, HYS.
    3. You just might find this interesting... remember earlier this year when I told you how that young man (and law school grad) from the 2011 NYT article, one Jason Bohn, went to jail for life for murdering his girlfriend? Well, I recently discovered that he’s featured in a book titled “Monsters of the Ivy League” which I found in the Humor section at B&N. Also got a nice, unflattering cartoon showing him with a nosebleed; apparently, he cried so hard at the trial that his nose bled but not a single tear came from his eyes. Weirdo.

    Anyway, well-wishes for you coming shortly...

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you, Nando, for your excellent blog, and giving me the opportunity to discuss the poor longer term employment outcomes from the most elite law schools in America, let alone everyone else who graduated from law school a while ago.

    My experience in going to totally elite schools, college and law school, was being able to work in big law for quite a while. The problem came when big law no longer wanted me. The employment opportunities after that sucked, to say the least. None of them were worth wasting an elite college degree on. They are half as lucrative as being a public school teacher of my vintage, but are about 8 times more unstable than being a school teacher of that vintage in my community.

    I have many similarly situated colleagues from very elite schools with big law and in house experience who are unable to work because of the awful lawyer oversupply, combined with up or out policies and class year hiring.

    I have observed so many times that even the most elite law schools carry a very real risk of not being able to work for a career in a full-time permanent job with a decent salary and benefits. You are talking about a substantial portion of the class, at least once people hit their 50s, being unemployed or underemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics criteria or working as a as a solo or small lawyer while being unable to make a living that is anywhere near equivalent to the median pay package of a new college graduate. These are former big law lawyers who graduated from elite law schools.

    Thank you for the opportunity to post on your blog.

    I wish you the most success in your career and family life.

    ReplyDelete
  30. As one of the earliest and greatest anti law scam posters who has ever lived, I, the lawland prophet, who told you all that law school and the legal profession are utter scams...The Infamous John Bungsolaphagus.....commend you, Nando, for all your well reasearched, well thought out and brutally honest truth saying over the years. If you saved only one lemming from going over the lawland scam cliff then it was all worth it. You have done God's work for years. God Bless!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Nando,

    So, I wanted to give one nice long farewell speech about how great you are and how awesome your efforts and accomplishments have been, but I think just about all the finer points have been hit by now with all the other commenters. So, just to consolidate: Your decade-long run is nothing short of impressive, you deserve to be nationally recognized for all the good you’ve done, and take heart knowing that this is just the beginning of the end for the law school movement, here in the final hours of 2017 which saw not 1 not 2 but 3 law school closures. So, the best of luck to you and your family, thanks again for everything, and may this blog stay for a long time to come.*

    Sincerely,
    X-RWU

    *P.S. Seriously, is there a way to back all this up somewhere?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surely, 8 years of work-heart and soul-will not be lost.
      -C

      Delete
  32. Happy New Year's, Nando. Thank you for a great blog. Your spotlight on the law school scam was beyond informative and your writing style was great.

    After a well-deserved break, Hopefully we see you on the internet again, be it combatting the Law School cartel or something else.

    ReplyDelete
  33. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo(cough)ooooo...

    I think we are in the calm before the storm with the Lawl Skools - they are beginning to really scrape for people. Nando kept a flame going after 2010, when the bottom stopped falling out and people started talking about going to LS as a serious thing and not a hideout from a cratered job market. Hoisting a very high middle finger to neo-liberalism, "market-based solutions", a decayed-rotting legal system nobody in the regular press talks about, the legions of scam commenters this blog got for years, and the general malaise in higher education. Thank you for your work, Nando.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Nando thanks for all you have done. I know you have saved many a young adult from entering those TTT crap heaps. Good luck and I hope you keep the site up for eternity. Take Care.

    ReplyDelete
  35. One of the best sites I've ever been on with Jdunderground. May this site never die! You saved me thousands of dollars as you convinced me to not attend law school.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Sorry to see you go. Bravo to the 8+ years of exposing the real truth!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Nando, this is going to sound weird, but I feel like you were an actual part of my life at an interesting juncture. I checked your blog every couple days from 2012-2015.

    I never went to law school but I have worked McJobs for most of my adult life (despite having a college degree from a public university) and you gave voice to the rage we all felt inside. Thanks for speaking for us.

    Oh, and please drop the modesty. You DID save lives.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Part one:

    I am of such conflicted feelings with Nando’s post.

    Nothing goes on forever. A motivational poster in one of the elevators in my office building had an entry about a Rajah, or some such, who asked his wise men to give him a statement that was true in all circumstances.

    The answer was:

    “This too shall pass.”

    So, this may be my last post also. I have posted many times, both as “Anonymous,” as “Cincinnatus,” and as “-C.” I may have posted 60 to 100 times. Once, and to my knowledge the first poster to be asked, Nando asked me to repost a comment so it would not get lost on the back page of an older post.

    I have felt compelled to pour out my heart regarding my experience as a solo for the benefit of 0L’s. I know well the daunting path that lay before anyone building a practice by himself or herself. And I tried not to hit just the obvious comments and issues, but to delve into the many aspects of solo practice and how they will affect your life, lifestyle, and family. Trying to give “insight” in terms folks 40 years younger than me might be able to understand. Solo practice will have a pervasive impact on your entire life and family. Long hours, low pay, and bills, bills, bills.

    You will buy all your own “benefits of employment” for yourself. Health insurance will be an “individual policy” which means no group rate premium. Last year, my health insurance premiums for a married couple and one child were $25,000. About $2,210 per month. And, we had a $6,500 deductible per person, so I’d be out-of-pocket about $44,500 before the insurance company kicks in. Seriously.

    I haven’t been able to save anything in the last 5 years due to health insurance costs.

    Life insurance, disability insurance, office liability insurance. You pay.

    Vacation-no vacation pay because if you don’t work, you can’t bill.

    I have hit many other financial and social aspects in prior posts, so no need to restate them here.

    I have made a decent living as a solo, and perhaps tenacious folks today can do so too, but it has been at a tremendous cost in emotion, family life, and stress. As I have posted before, “my children will not be lawyers-I have 3, one a physician, one an engineer, and the last, in supply chain management (his school has “nearly 100% employment BEFORE graduation”). I have independently confirmed that supply chain management is “hot” with hiring folks in industry. The physician will soon have a starting salary at about 3-4 times my current income (after 40 years of practice)-my child being half my age.

    As a parent wanting the best for his children, I told my kids from a very early age, “You will not be lawyers. I will not encourage it, I will not pay for it, and if you still become a lawyer-it’s your own damn fault.” (Seems to have worked.)

    On one hand, I stand amazed at Nando’s perseverance, as he has undertaken and fulfilled a Herculean task: he has stood firm in the face of an entrenched establishment fraud (both private and governmental), stared them down, called them out, created a forum for the defrauded, the nearly defrauded, and me, the anciently defrauded, placed their frauds on the altar of common decency, and has held them to account before the world. If there be justice, the anguish of law school administrators will fester for years.

    (Some decades before I stood alone and took on a national charity where the board was not advised that the local unit was bankrupt and risking the loss of major charity assets. I was publically expunged from the organization. That effort cost me a year’s income-managing that movement. The charity flinched first and I, and my supporters, were vindicated. I placed my public life and career on the line over that issue. Management was forced out and the assets saved. I was reinstated in the organization. I understand Nando’s passion. It was hard work, less scary as time passed, and I learned a great deal about political movements.)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Part Two:

    We have to thank Nando for his rigidly accurate research, well-reasoned arguments, and articulate expression, all of which have elevated the scamblog movement to its current level of influence on the industry. It has made a difference. The high level of comment by all of us following in Nando’s wake have further expanded the issues and discussion. Many blogs and forums are drivel-moribund. Not Third Tier Reality. Here, reality matters and is taken seriously.

    On another hand, Nando’s blog has been therapeutic for me. Like an earlier comment to this Nando’s post who felt like he/she had made a mistake or that there was something “wrong” with them because they did not find a decent job-so was my situation.

    I graduated in the top 25% of my class at a Land Grant University, some 40 years ago. I thought I had done fairly well. Wrong. I could not find a job for 2 and a half years, and then at $12,600 a year and a week paid vacation. That was it. My first job offer, which I turned down, was $9,600 per year. The top students in my class started in Big Law at $70,000. My sibling, 7 years younger than me, started at a computer science job with a Fortune 50 company at $22,000 plus full corporate benefits at the same time I had graduated from law school. I KNEW then that I had made a bad career choice.

    My parents died thinking that I “had obviously made a mistake somewhere my in career.” And how my heart breaks over that. They had no idea that the deck had been loaded and that there was no way to win. “You can’t win, draw, or get out of the game.”

    There are many prior Anonymous posts I have made detailing the skills I have self-taught, and such, but having made a living as a solo is confirmation enough there was no mistake on my part-other than attending law school.

    I was scammed, even back then. In 1974+. (Fortunately, my law school debt was, and please forgive me, $1,500.00 with a $32.94 per month payment.) Well, even at that, I had no job and no income, so it was an issue, but my heart goes out to all who have incurred huge, unmanageable debt.

    Thank you Nando for giving me, and everyone else, a forum. It has helped me leave a very dark place some years ago.

    For all you “boomer bashers,” I am one. If you ever get hired by a law firm, a boomer will likely be the one making the decision. Give him or her a swift kick on the way to picking up your first paycheck. (You need to recognize the danger of discrimination-you need to judge everyone by whom they are, not by some artificial grouping you put them in and attributing character traits to that group and then condemning them because they fall into that artificial group. In a couple of days I am meeting with an attorney who returned to my town and needs to build a practice and would like some mentoring. Sure, I’ll do that! (Damn Boomers!)) Most lawyers my age are like me, and they have struggled and worked hard themselves and they know your struggles. Call one, they are likely to fall over backward trying to help.

    To Old Guy, I will miss your comments here. They were always well-researched and well-written. Building a practice from scratch is hard, tedious work. One client at a time, and one “service” at a time. Servicing clients is the key. I wish I knew if you now have a stable situation, as I worry about you.

    And so, for all the prospective law students I have met with and counseled regarding the LAW. All have gone to law school. Third and Fourth Tier trash pits. None have returned to report to me their satisfaction with their decision.

    Godspeed, Nando, and thanks.

    -Cincinnatus

    ReplyDelete
  40. Nando have you considered making a movie or documentary about this blog? I think it would do well

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  41. I went to dinner the other night with a couple of high school kids who had taken part in a mock trial function earlier that evening. They talked about being interested in law school. I have learned that such people often resent unsolicited warnings about law school and the law generally. Also, I figured it would piss off my wife (she's a lawyer, but she's either not hip to the scam or doesn't care). So I just sipped my beer and quietly felt sorry for them.

    ReplyDelete

 
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