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Home / JDs Rising / Dear Law School: It’s all your fault. Signed, recent grad
Should we really be blaming law schools for personal decisions to take on debt and become lawyers in a tough market?

Dear Law School: It’s all your fault. Signed, recent grad

Should we really be blaming law schools for personal decisions to take on debt and become lawyers in a tough market?

49 comments

  1. I agree with much of what you wrote, but many of the disgruntled and unemployed JDs argue that law schools are essentially engaging in fraud by posting misleading employment statistics. I was wondering to what degree you think students should rely (or should be able to rely) upon their schools’ employment statistics?

  2. I put much of the blame on law schools as they are essentially “cash cows” that offer little to no practical work experience. I think many would agree that your 3rd year of law school is a COMPLETE waste of time and money that would be better spent in an internship/apprenticeship learning the actual practice of law.

    Myself and other people I know who were very close to the top of the class, law review, prestigious clerkships, publications, etc. are still having a very difficult time finding work. There is not much more one can do in this economy with those sorts of credentials, but it would be much more manageable financially if we did not have to pay for 3 years of law school and the ABA would not condone 4 law schools in such a small legal market.

    I would also opine that in these tough economic times, it would be advantageous if my license in MN would not preclude me from working and searching for jobs in other states (other than those at the federal level where competition is even more fierce). And who wants to take another bar exam, let alone have the money and time (while searching for other jobs) to do the same?

  3. I wish I would have done a little bit more research before going to law school. With that said, I probably would have still gone to law school. I think that St. Thomas did a grave disservice to the legal community and recent grads when it established a law school. It completely oversaturated the market for attorneys. I’m not commenting on the quality of the education St. Thomas provides, but rather the fact that the Twin Cities did not need another lawyer factory.

  4. I agree with Law Lackey. Anyone can see that the legal job market is competitive. But when a school’s employment rates are inflated by including people who are temping, working part-time, or working in a job that doesn’t require a j.d., a prospective student can’t honestly assess how bad the job market is.

  5. Good points and questions. I agree that reporting is misleading and maybe even fraudulant. However, when you’re making a major life
    decision such as going to law school, it’s not wise to look at only
    one source of information (such as the statistics provided by the
    school). The school has a significant interest in recruiting students
    to apply and accept spots in the program – that’s enough to make me
    take their stats with a grain of salt. I recognize that not everyone
    fully does their homework on these sorts of things (me included), but a professor friend of mine recommends that students looking at any grad program verify their information with other sources.

  6. Do your due diligence before you drop thousands of dollars into something. That means asking other sources, including your pre-law advisor, about job opportunities with a JD from this particular school. If you only look at the printed sales brochures the law schools put out with an uncritical eye you are a fool. Will the law schools present employment stats in the most positive light to help them achieve their mission? Of course, just like litigators tell a story using the facts that help them with their case. Do they flat-out lie by saying 95% of their grads are employed in the law 9 months after graduation when, in fact, only 55% are and the other 45% work at a taco truck? No one has provided evidence to support their claim the law schools lie.

    As far as Legal Beagle’s comment that the 3rd year of law school is a waste–you are in no better or no worse shape than any other 3rd year looking for a job. If law schools all suck in giving students practical experience then law firms know this. Perhaps you need to be realistic what job you can get if you want to be in a particular geographic area. You should have known after 3 years in a state what the job market is there. If Minnesota has no jobs, then take the bar in a state which does have jobs. And do your research, Beagle, because you can work and search for another job in another state with a Minnesota license.

    In short, there is no reason why law students and lawyers should be exempt from economics and market demand. If you want to stay in one place then you need to adjust your expectations for employment. If you want a particular job then you need to be willing to move.

    And for god’s sake, keep being pathetic and blaming other people for your unwise decisions. Nothing’s sexier and more employable than a whiner who never learns from their mistakes!

  7. I agree with Leah that there is some “massaging” of the employment members — something engaged in by all of the law schools and encouraged by U.S. News rating system — although the cat may be out of the bag these days for a law school candidate willing to do the Web research.

    I’ve never agreed with St. Thomas having some sort of duty to the grads of the other three law schools not to come into existence to held ensure them jobs. The market is flooded right now — and it’s true that St. Thomas did not stick its figure in the wind correctly in gauging the 2010 market when it opened in 2001 — but St. Thomas has no more culpability for existing in the first place than the other three schools have for not agreeing to shut their doors. Schools will start shutting their doors when the demand for law degrees tapers off.

    It would be best for the existing lawyers if that happened now, but good luck convincing the incoming generation of lawyers to do us that favor. Despite all the evidence out there of the job-finding and debt troubles lawyers are having, applications continue to pour in ….

  8. ACL, I am stick and tired of people on this site talking about the importance of networking, informal interviews, etc. I graduated with honors, law review, published twice, completed 2 federal clerkships, etc., and I have been unemployed for the past year!!!

    Darn right I am going to complain and blame other things than myself with those sorts of credentials. I worked far too hard to be in this sitaution. I recently took a $25/hr. pay cut (making less than unemployment) because it was better to use my degree than sit around all day looking for jobs even though the chances the position becomes permanent are slim to none.

    I think a lot of the advice and opinions on these blog sites are misguided because I am not the only one in this situation. Everything is easier with 20/20 hindsight.

    I am also pretty sure that to practice law in another state (unless you work for the feds) you MUST have that state’s license. I am more than willing to move, but I cannot afford to leave without securing employment first. At least if law school was 2 years then loans would be that much more manageable in these tough economic times.

  9. Just to be clear, I was not alleging that law schools lie. But, it seems to me that many unemployed JDs are making that allegation.

    And I think the solution to this allegation is simple: The ABA should require independent auditing of law school’s admission and employment statistics.

    I’m not a member of the ABA, but the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct state: “As a member of a learned profession, a lawyer should cultivate knowledge of the law beyond its use for clients, employ that knowledge in reform of the law and work to strengthen legal education.”

    I’m gainfully employed (as a lawyer, not a public accountant) and, as I said earlier, I agree Heather’s personal responsibility sentiments. But, I think I owe the future of my profession 10 minutes to write a letter to the ABA suggesting an independent auditing requirement.

  10. Legal Beagle:
    Your willingness to make a definitive statement without doing any research speaks to your work as an attorney.
    A short (less than 2 minute) Google search turned up the following for California:
    “California Rules of Court, rule 9.45, permits an attorney who relocates to California and who is licensed to practice law in one or more jurisdictions of the United States other than California to practice law in California under a registration system without becoming a member of the State Bar of California. A Registered Legal Services Attorney may practice law in California for no more than three years and during that period must do so under the supervision of an attorney employed by a Qualifying Legal Services Provider.”

    Another thing–you might want to look into your Johari window, because I am willing to guess that you write cover letters and show up at interviews with the same bewildered sense of entitlement and condescension you display here. No wonder firms will not hire you.

    You’re welcome.

  11. Mark,

    I don’t buy the supply/demand argument that is used to defend St. Thomas’ decision to start a law school. Do you honestly believe any of the Twin Cities law schools will shut its doors in the near future? When is the last time you heard of a university going out of business?

    Higher education is a business that plays by different rules. Public law schools are supported by taxpayers. Private law schools are fueled by huge amounts of federally backed student loans. With so much support from the public, taxpayers have an expectation that law schools are going to provide a service that will benefit the public. Churning out huge amounts of debt-laden law grads doesn’t benefit society in any way. It is true that one can look at these people as victims of the free market, but they are also victims of a taxpayer-funded service industry that has forgotten to consider what’s in the best interests of students.

    I’m sure St. Thomas is a fine school, but the fact remains that a fourth law school in the Twin Cities does the public no favors. The successful grads from St. Thomas would have been successful at any other school. The unsuccessful grads will be just another group of people that defaults on their student loans, leaving the public to foot the bill.

  12. ACL, your legal research skills aren’t so great either. The CA Rule of Court you speak of only applies to non-profit organizations that provide legal services without charge. How will that help me pay for my law school loans?

    There is also a distinct difference between entitlement and hardwork. You have no right to question my integrity and character without knowing who I am and where I come from. Maybe you should take a good look in the mirror at your own moral compass and be grateful for what you have. There are a lot of bright, ambitious, driven new lawyers out there that would love to be in your shoes.

  13. HUSL ’10: My point about UST Law is that the school is a fact now, it’s pointless to set the clock back 10 years and debate its existence. If we had a time machine and could go back and warn them about 2010 economy, maybe the result would have been different. Or perhaps we could bring the machine to the the 1970s and try to stop the creation of Hamline. But personally I think I’d just crank the machine back to when Apple stock or Microsoft stock first went on the market and make a few well-placed purchases.

    As to your question about a law school going out of business — one example would be St. Thomas. You probably are not aware of this, but the current incarnation of St. Thomas Law is St. Thomas Law 2.0. The first St. Thomas Law winked out of business during the Great Depression. (What is it with St. Thomas starting law schools and then major economic upheaval following?) St. Thomas, in fact, seems plagued by bad timing. It first opened its doors a few weeks before 9/11. In any case, Hamline in some ways is the newest law school, not St. Thomas.

    Donald — You stole my thunder. I was going to mention that the journalism schools have been flooded with applications. And if you think law has been decimated by the “new economy,” that’s just peanuts to what has happened to the journalism field. What adds the extra level of tragedy on for law grads is the amount of debt many of them have taken on.

  14. Lawyers are not unique in questioning the cost and value of higher education.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090903350.html?hpid=topnews

  15. The lack of employment for recent law graduates is much more complicated than there are four law schools in the Twin Cities. No one acknowledges the technological forces that have combined in the last decade to eliminate many paralegal, law clerk and associates jobs. Add in online sources for legal documents, the state and federal courts providing legal documents and you eliminate the need for many legal services that previously were paid for.

    When you include outsourcing and contract attorneys it is easy to understand why so many new graduates are out of work. An additional factor to consider is older attorneys are not retiring. Many work well into their 70’s and 80’s.

    Until recently there was no way a potential law student could fully comprehend how drastically the practice of law was changing. Given the number of collapsed once prominent firms, clearly those of us in the practice of law did not foresee the downsizing either.

  16. I’m glad to see people like Donald and Mark putting law grads and lawyers in with other degrees and disciplines. Law is not immune from market forces and law students are not the only ones to graduate with huge debt and shrunken job prospects.

    There are a lot of forces coming to play with the glut in the market including, like Sharon mentions, increased class size in law schools and senior attorneys delaying retirement.

    It’s not just the law schools’ fault.

    The point is, given the situation that exists, what can be done? Is it more helpful to you to look everywhere but inward to find a reason for lack of gainful employment? If someone sends out 30, or 300 resumes and doesn’t get an interview is it rational for them to say each one of those 30 or 300 people is wrong? No.

    I stick by my earlier statement–if you want to live in a particualr area you need to be flexible in the work you do or how you market yourself. If you want to work in a particular career you need to be flexible in where you live.

    Oh, and Beagle? Non-profits DO hire people on salary. Like, say, the ACLU. They’re hiring in South Dakota. They pay real US dollars. And they provide legal services to their clients without charge.
    Again, you supply evidence why you are still unemployed. You fight and argue every helpful bit of information that doesn;t support your schema that you got screwed and people should feel sorry for you.

  17. Yes, I realize that SD is not California. The point is one can still work in another state like CA with an active license for a legal services company and get paid.

  18. Focus on the Issue

    This discussion, and a lot of complaining, focuses on the wrong reason recent grads are having problems. The true failing of law schools is the failure to adapt to the changing times and restructure the curriculum and the career services offices accordingly.

    It should have been clear 2-3 years ago that the old model does not work. 2L fall offers for post-graduate employment have decreased significantly. Firms are laying off young associates, not hiring more. Governments are cutting funds and with that come new hires. Older lawyers are continuing to work rather than retire. With this situation, what have law schools done exactly?

    Nothing. Oh, maybe they’ve added a few more seminars about networking but lets all be honest, those are almost useless. If you’ve made it into a semi-decent law school, you know how to network. Even good networks have failed in this recession.

    Across the board, law schools have failed to adapt. They have failed to restructure their career offices to the times. Law students need more information on career alternatives, on how to start solo or dual practice law firms, on how to advertise their solo firms, and other practical information.

    Lawyers are a unique profession where straight out of school we can venture on our own. Sure we struggle, but you can be successful or at least survive. But, rather than restructure and refocus law schools have remained stagnant. This is the real issue that we should be discussing.

  19. Blame the media. These kids go into law because they want to be Ally Mcbeal, or a tobacco settlement attorney… they’re clueless.

  20. These are many of the arguments I was making as a young attorney back in 1974—during the then recession which was the worst until that time. There has been oversaturation in the legal profession for a generation. At least in my time, it wasn’t apparent in the 1960′s when I entered law school–it happened while I was there. The law schools are and have been irresponsible for a generation. All of the current young attorneys have been on notice for a long time.

    Here are the plain facts. I secured employment, but that’s all I secured. I’m coming to the end of my working days, but I cannot really say they’ve been rewarding. I got started wrong due to the bad economy and have always been somewhere on the fringe. I cannot, as I approach the end of it, truly say I’ve EVER had a “career” as such. It’s only been a “series of jobs.” Knowing what I know now, I would NEVER do it again.

    Face it, folks. It may not EVER work for you; you might consider doing something else. NOW. While you’re still young enough to do it. Keep at it long enough, you’ll end up bankrupt trying to pay off those loans while you’re still looking for that job that will never come. And given that they’re largely non-dischargeable, now, that is TRUE slavery.

  21. The fourth tier law schools in Minnesota (WM, Hamline) should be closed down. The author herself was a student at a 4th tier law school. There are not enough jobs for these graduates and with Minnesota and St. Thomas already taking up most of the jobs in the area, why should the ABA allow these schools to continue?

  22. The law schools are to blame for publishing misleading at best if not intentionally fraudulent employment statistics. Almost all of them claim that 95% of their graduates find work after law school. However, that number almost has to include people working outside of the legal profession and working poverty wage jobs, or it only counts respondents to employment surveys who are likely to be happily employed.

    In contrast, I have conducted an informal back-of-the-envelop study which uses ABA stats and Bureau of Labor Statistic stats to estimate that fewer than 30% of all law school graduates from the past 10 years were able to find work in the legal profession. See:

    http://flustercucked.blogspot.com/2010/07/statistics-may-suggest-less-than-30-of.html

    http://flustercucked.blogspot.com/2010/07/statistics-suggest-that-only-538-of-all.html

    http://flustercucked.blogspot.com/2010/07/40-years-of-lawyer-overproduction-data.html

    Furthermore, the ABA is to blame for continuing to accredit new law schools and Congress is to blame for failing to allow student loan debt to be dischargeable in bankruptcy, which would force student loan peddlers to be more careful about lending (if not reluctant to lend) to law students. Free market forces and their negative feedback loops have been almost completely removed from higher education.

  23. If the ABA were going to start closing schools, UST would probably go before Mitchell, right?

    UST 3
    Hamline 4
    U of M and Mitchell both Top 100*

    (*source this year’s U.S. News & World Report)

  24. Wbigtummy, it’s interesting that you say you experienced oversaturation in the legal field even in the past. I have conducted an informal study (using ABA and Census Bureau stats) showing that lawyer production increased dramatically in the early 1970s. I found the results of my study to be interesting in that I had always thought that the legal job market became severely oversaturated in the late ’80′s and I was surprised to learn that overproduction started in the early 1970s.

    Assuming that a lawyer would (ideally) want to work as a lawyer for 40 years (as long as it were economically feasible and the legal market were such that the quality of life were worthwhile), I calculated that the law schools were producing enough new attorneys to sustain having a population-to-attorney ratio of 190.9 in 1973 — one lawyer for every 191 Americans or 27,756 new lawyer graduates for a nation with a population of 212 million people. This is a huge jump from the rate of production in 1971 when 17,006 JDs were awarded (population-to-attorney ratio of 305.3). In 1963 the numbers were 9638 graduates for a U.S. population of 189.2 million or enough to sustain a population-to-lawyer ratio of 490.9. In 2009 the production rate was enough to sustain having 1 lawyer for every 174.4 people.

    (To obtain these numbers, divide the U.S. population by the number of JDs awarded per year multiplied by 40–which assumes that a lawyer would want to work for 40 years.)

    So, lawyer overproduction has occurred since the early 1970s and a huge glut of JDs has built up over the past 40 years. You can find my study and some charts here:

    http://flustercucked.blogspot.com/2010/07/40-years-of-lawyer-overproduction-data.html

  25. Regarding closing law schools, an excellent argument can be made that 60% if not 75% of all law schools (or law school seats) need to close. See:

    http://flustercucked.blogspot.com/2010/08/60-of-our-nations-law-schools-need-to.html

    45,000 New Lawyers every year and the Rate of Attorney Overproduction:

    http://flustercucked.blogspot.com/2010/08/45000-new-lawyers-every-year-and-rate.html

  26. Gopher, your comment is amusing. Thanks for the comic relief.

  27. Most students are not paying attention to the employment numbers touted, even if they are completely wrong. All they know is that they chose a useless undergraduate major, and becoming a lawyer will somehow solve everything.

    That doesn’t give schools a right to lie, of course.

  28. I tend to agree with anon that the placement numbers schools offer cannot explain the flood of law school applications — particularly when a simple Google search would reveal any number of “warnings” like these.

    I also think anon has a point with undergraduate majors. I mean, how many people actually find employment as a “political scientist?” I good portion of undergrads who do go to law school formulate that “plan” without any real idea of what the job opportunities will be as a lawyer, let alone any particular school’s placement rate. They believe they will get the “practical” training when they go to law school, when, in fact, they mostly get another three years of liberal arts.

  29. Law Schools will not voluntarily close. the “supply and demand” they look at is not the number of lawyers. It is the number of students who are willing and able to secure loans to pay the tuition. Once the check clears, the law schools aren’t all that concerned about jobs for their grads so much as convincing the next round of first years to get their financial aid packages in order.

    I say this as a Hamline grad who is relatively happy with my legal education, and doing reasonably well as a solo. But, what the hell do they think they are doing for their law students? I graduated over ten years ago, and the number of my classmates who are practicing or working in a field which requires or substantially uses a JD are very low.

  30. I’m not sure what country these people are from, but HERE in America, it is all about who you know. In EVERY other industry, you will not get a job offer unless you know somebody that works in that field or company. I have not had a job where I didn’t have an in since High School. Just because you have a law degree doesn’t mean that you get to skip this step. If you don’t know somebody willing to help you out, don’t waste the money. Yes, eventually you will land a position. But it will be an incredibly tough climb up. If you just have to spend the money, be a dentist.

  31. Many law schools do not stop at reporting nonlegal and poverty-wage jobs as post-graduate “employment.” Many of them also offer grants to place graduates who are completely unemployed in temp jobs with nonprofit organizations. These jobs last for short, fixed terms of anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months, and nobody seriously expects that they will lead to permanent jobs. At law schools that do this, it is an open secret that these grants exist solely to inflate employment numbers.

    Unfortunately, these inflated statistics are publicized not only by the law schools, but also by sources that many people may perceive to be “objective,” particularly U.S. News.

  32. Oh please just STOP! STOP the whining. You know what? My house was worth $75,000 more three years ago than it is now. My benefits at work have been reduced. My retirement savings gets smaller and smaller every quarter. Welcome to THE WORLD in 2010. Not law, the world. I thought lawyers were problem-solvers; get out there and solve your own problems rather than blaming them on someone else thereby highlighting your gullibility and lack of due diligence and foresight. Clearly you need a do-over of that law school, or maybe you should have paid attention third year and caught some of these skills of analysis, perspective, critical thinking, and problem-solving. And I didn’t realize that a law degree negated the rest of your experience and education and in fact shackled you to a career as a lawyer. Do something else! Use all the tools in your toolkit. (Oh, is your liberal arts degree worthless? Then how about a tirade about that? Did someone put a gun to your head and make you choose that, too?) A quick moment’s research would reveal that you could make far more money in many professions outside of the law, negating any salary argument. If you’re making too little, you can get income-based loan repayment. If you work in the public sector on top of that, your loans can be forgiven in ten years. Quit the blame game, suck it up, own your choices, accept the reality of the world economy, and do something more productive than highlighting your faults on a blog.

  33. I think the ABA is a week body and should regulate how many law students get accepted in to law school each year.

  34. i agree that you need to do your homework/research/due diligence when deciding to plunk down tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars for an education (or any investment for that matter), but it is easier to say that when you are a 30, 40, 50 year old with life experience who has made previous investment decisions (i.e., a mortgage). To say a 22 year old with no investment decision experience (and very little life experience) knows exactly what they are doing is very hard to swallow (sorry, but given that a college degree is required for so many professions, I have a hard time believing that it is an “investment” … more like a “requirement”). I think all parties deserve a certain amount of blame … students, parents, law schools, loan lenders, the media and the government.

  35. I am a 2010 grad of Fordham. No job, not even any interviews.

    I think the real issue is not whether law schools “lie.” They most certainly do, in my opinion. If not outright lies, they certainly distort the truth.

    The real issue is why the hell law school should cost $45K per year? It’s not like med school where they must buy cadavers, etc. All they need to do is get some guy or woman to come into a classroom and read from a sheet of paper for 2 hours a week. Why the hell does that translate into $45K a year?

    Damn right I’m mad at law school. In in any other area of life, anyone that takes $120K from you and gives you nothing but, essentially, a middle finger in return would be thrown in jail. Not law schools, though.

  36. “Too many lawyers”- true, true. Statistics indicate that there are already over a million lawyers in the U.S., and law school enrollment is still increasing. See:
    http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2010/10/04/thinking-of-going-to-law-school-and-becoming-a-lawyer-read-these-stats-first/

    Do you think that law school career services should be more up front about employment prospects after graduation? I think it would be an honorable idea for career services to be honest and start directing law students towards alternative careers with their law degrees- that is where a great number of law graduates end up anyway.

  37. Georgia- I do think law schools should be more transparent. See my follow up article about the ABA’s efforts to make this happen:

    http://minnlawyer.com/jdr/2010/09/24/dear-recent-grad-its-more-complicated-than-that-signed-the-aba/

  38. I’ve just written a new blog post where, given certain assumptions, I have performed calculations to determine the year when our nation will surpass having 2 million JDs (most of whom will be debt-ridden, impoverished, and unemployed or underemployed-and-involuntarily-out-of-field, of course). Check it out:

    http://flustercucked.blogspot.com/2010/10/2-million-attorneys.html

  39. Heather Diersen- Thank you for the response! I think what you mentioned in your article about Standard 302 is pretty poignant. Requiring practical experience like clinic work or field placement might actually be helpful. I’ve heard of several graduates being hard pressed after school because they missed out on clinicals and OCI.

  40. why are all these people desperately trying to get into law schools (record # of applications and enrollments) if they can read all these blogs, articles, etc. and realize it is tough to get a job in law and the money isn’t that great except for a few at very top firms? Where is the disconnect?

  41. Here is what I wrote in response to a similar question on the JD Underground forum. Given all of the information available on the Internet, why are people still applying to law school? (Also, note that very few people know about the existence of the Law School Scambusting blogs, and that probably includes lawyers who read Minn Lawyer and JDs Rising.)

    —————–

    I don’t think that word will trickle down to enough people. There will probably always be a perception among some people that becoming a lawyer will guarantee you an upper middle class income, at least amongst enough people to fill the law schools.

    Perhaps students from middle class and upper middle class families will get the message eventually, but legions of students from poor families who think that just gaining admission to a for-profit college is a huge achievement will continue to believe that going to law school is a golden ticket. If the students from middle class and upper middle class families stop coming, the law schools will simply lower their admissions standards rather than deprive themselves of juicy tuition dollars.

    Remember, our society has been indoctrinating people about the value of higher education for decades. Look at the hordes of people who have no business going to college who are flooding into the for-profit schools and people who simply don’t know any better. This notion that higher education is a guarantor of at least a solid middle class lifestyle is deeply, deeply entrenched in the American psyche and exactly zero voices are saying otherwise on a public scale. (Little guys like you and me who gripe on blogs and specialized forums don’t count. I want to see Oprah or the President or Brian Williams spread the message.)

    Read this article about “Professor X” who teaches at a “College of Last Resort” to get a better sense of what I’m talking about. People, including people who have no business going to college, feel DESPERATE to go thinking that it will make their lives more prosperous. See the article, “In the Basement of the Ivory Tower”:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/06/in-the-basement-of-the-ivory-tower/6810/

    I just thought of one more point that had not previously occurred to me. The college scam is part of class warfare and an essential tool for social control. The rich (and our politicians and other powerful parties) have an interest in maintaining a widespread belief that people can work their way up and use education to lift themselves to a better economic state. If someone goes to college and fails to attain a better life our culture’s belief in meritocracy leads people to believe that it is their fault. You didn’t study hard enough or network hard enough, etc. If you didn’t go to college then you are supposed to think that the reason why you are earning poverty slave wages is because you didn’t go to college.

    The promise of a better life through higher education almost fills the same role that religion did centuries ago. It helps maintain social control over the masses. It assuages feelings of anger and resentment at the upper classes by replacing them with feelings of hope and guilt.

  42. So, basically, the argument is “I will trust this school with three expensive years of my life and with tons of my (and other peoples’) money, and with the awesome responsibility of training me for a so-called profession, but when it comes to anything they say on matters of employment, I will take it with a grain of salt.”

    That’s nuts.

  43. A new facebook group demands that the ABA be stripped of its accreditor status

    Check out the facebook page: NO WAY ABA

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/NO-WAY-ABA/157102307664191?v=info

  44. See the ABA’s article The Value Proposition of Attending Law School:

    http://www.abanet.org/lsd/legaled/value.pdf

  45. I just finished writing a blog post detailing two recent profound articles about the law school scam, and after I finished I thought of this post here at JDs Rising.

    http://flustercucked.blogspot.com/2011/03/two-profound-articles-aba-is-heavily.html

    Not only does the ABA implicitly sanction the reporting of fraudulently misleading employment and income stats by the law schools, it also just published its own fraudulently misleading lawyer income stats!

    http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/what_americas_lawyers_earn

    The ABA article is misleading because the ABA very well knows (they would have to be retarded not to know) that they are a high-profile and presumably authoritative and reliable source of information, that prospective law students and their families might read it when deciding whether to go to law school (and to take on potentially $180,000 of non-dischargeable student loan debt), and that those income stats fail to account for the “incomes” or lack of income of unemployed and underemployed JDs.

  46. One thing that most of us recent grads aren’t acknowledging is that the economy tanked while we were law school. So even if we did our due diligence, the job market in early 2008 seemed to be okay. I think that what we struggle with is, now what? I did everything they told me, did well in undergrad, was published, edited a law review, was in a clinic, volunteered…. However, now what? There are no jobs, it doesn’t matter we published or sat in the back of the class on FB, there aren’t any jobs to be had. I know it’s frustrating, as I can’t even get a job at Banana Republic to pay the bills (because as a sales associate pointed out I don’t have retail experience) and firms hiring want 5 years experience, so I’m not experienced there either. The loan money is running out, but as a recent law graduate…there really isn’t anyone to blame. The market dropped and until companies decide to hire, we are truly the lost generation.

    P.S. I am in California and clerking (unpaid) at a law firm with an associate who is licensed in NY & FL. The author who mentioned you can work in CA without a CA license is correct, if you have a license from another state and a in-state licensed attorney supervising you. This is true of both the private and in-house positions, and with in-house you don’t need even need a state license, although most here require being licensed in CA, and possibly NY.

    Also, Mitchell was only fourth tier one year when I heard the Dean didn’t submit anything in protest to US News. They have since been ranked in the 1st tier. But it’s okay Gopher, I deal with people from the ivys every day, and so I get your lack of knowledge about schools “lower” than yours.

  47. For over thirty years now, it has been well known that there are too many lawyers. Anyone would have heard this long before entering law school. In the early 1990s, I applied for legal secretary jobs and always found out these jobs were taken by those with law degrees. I knew back then, that something smelled rotten if lawyers had to work as legal secretaries and paralegals. The legal field has been glutted for a very long time. I always find it sad when people work unpaid internships. My advice is, forget about the legal field and do something else. Go into a career where there is an actual NEED for qualified people. It may not be as prestigious as law, it may not be a “power job” but you would probably get a good salary (or at least, better than working an unpaid internship). It may require getting out of your comfort zone, though.

    By working unpaid internships, you are enabling those who wish to exploit your situation. And many firms will no longer write references for interns or employees, so you won’t get a written reference out if either. Been there, done that.

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