A Few More Rejection Letters

Rejection Letters 2013:
08/08/2013
We received your online application for Attorney Advisor, GS-905-13/14 (Excepted Service) ARC, GS-0905-14 which was advertised under vacancy number FHWA.HCC-2013-0006 and closed on 02/06/2013. Your name was referred to the selecting official at the grade 14 along with other highly qualified candidates; however, another candidate was selected at the grade 14. 

We appreciate your interest in employment with U.S. Department of Transportation. Please visit our Careers in Motion jobsite at http://jobsearch.dot.gov for 
a current list of job vacancies.  We encourage you to continue to apply for future vacancies in which you are interested and wish you success in your future employment endeavors.

Please note, if you requested consideration under more than one grade level for this position, you will receive an individual email PER grade level.

Best regards,
The DOT Automated Staffing Office
TRANSJOBS@fhwa.dot.gov
__________________________
08/08/2013:
We received your online application for Attorney Advisor, GS-905-13/14 (Excepted Service) ARC, GS-0905-13 which was advertised under vacancy number FHWA.HCC-2013-0006 and closed on 02/06/2013. Your name was referred to the selecting official at the grade 13 along with other highly qualified candidates; however, another candidate was selected at the grade 13. 

We appreciate your interest in employment with U.S. Department of Transportation. Please visit our Careers in Motion jobsite at http://jobsearch.dot.gov for 
a current list of job vacancies.  We encourage you to continue to apply for future vacancies in which you are interested and wish you success in your future employment endeavors.

Please note, if you requested consideration under more than one grade level for this position, you will receive an individual email PER grade level.

Best regards,
The DOT Automated Staffing Office
TRANSJOBS@fhwa.dot.gov
___________________________
05/14/2013:
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY    
USCIS HR OPERATIONS CENTER    
70 KIMBALL AVENUE    
SOUTH BURLINGTON VT  05403    

 Dear [           ],

   This refers to the application you recently submitted to this office for the position below:    

Position Title:      Entry Level Attorney    
Pay Plan:       GS    
Series/Grade: 0905-12    
Vacancy ID:   826700    
Announcement Number:   CIS-826700-COU    
Hiring Office:      US Citizenship and Immigration Services    

Results regarding your recent referral to the Hiring Official are as follows:    

   Referral Type:  Non-Traditional    
   Appointment Type: Excepted 
     Service Permanent    
   Specialty / Grade:      0905 – 12    
   Promotion Potential:      15    
   Locations: Location Negotiable 
     After Selection    

Thank you for applying for this position.  Your application has been considered.  However, another applicant was selected.  We appreciate your interest in employment with our agency.    

   Audit Code: NS    
   Code Definition:  Not Selected    
   Code Explanation:    

The selecting office has indicated that you were not selected for the position.    

Thank you for your interest in Federal employment.  You are encouraged to visit http://www.usajobs.gov to view additional Federal employment opportunities and information.    

PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL MESSAGE.  IT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED.    

For additional information, please refer to the vacancy announcement for this position.    

Law Review Roundup

Although the law school blogs have put forth great effort in warning the general public, mainstream news media outlets have begun to address the issue. For those who shrieked that scam bloggers were emotional, dramatic and weren’t basing their information on facts, we have over time, demonstrated the latter to be false. Of course one would be emotional when statististcs demonstrate that one was duped in a fraudulent scheme of the higher education industrial complex while the student loan business has produced generations of indentured servants reduced to menial labor and the contempt of the public who already have a disdain for lawyers. 

The following is a short list of primarily ACADEMIC refereed law journal articles addressing the law school scam, student loans and law school, law school scam blogs and the call for reform of the law school for-profit industry. This was not just a temporal problem nor the call for reform a fad by disgruntled attorneys/recent law graduates. This demonstrates a fundamental need for a paradigm shift in the way law schools fraudulently represent job statistics, benefits of attending and not attending law schools, and the basic requirement to address the next round of defaults: student loans. 

The reality is that the legal industry has greatly declined due to mass production business model characterized by LPOs and increased usage of temporary attorneys. 

Anyway, here is the list of law review articles:

Redeeming a Lost Generation: ‘The Year of Law School Litigation’ and the Future of the Law School Transparency Movement 88 Indiana Law Journal 773 (2013). http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2134009

You’re Doing It Wrong: How the Anti-Law School Scam Blogging Movement Can Shape the Legal Profession, Lucille A. Jewel. 12.1 Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology 239 (2013).

http://mjlst.umn.edu/prod/groups/ahc/@pub/@ahc/@mjlst/documents/asset/ahc_asset_366141.pdf

What Ails the Law Schools, Paul Horowitz, 111 Michigan Law Review 955 (2013)

http://www.michiganlawreview.org/assets/pdfs/111/6/Horwitz.pdf

Perspectives on Legal Education Reform: The Crisis in Legal Education: Dabbling in Disaster Planning, K.P. McEntee, et al. 46 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 225 (2012).

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2188668

Options for Student Loan Borrowers: A Derivatives-Based Proposal to Protect Students and Control Debt Fueled Inflation in the Higher Education Market, Michael C. Macchiarola; Arun Abraham. 20 Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy 67 (2010).

http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/research/JLPP/upload/CJP102-Macchiarola-Abraham-2.pdf

The National Law Journal, “Consensus Emerging that Law School Model Is ‘Is Not Sustainable’ ” (2010)

Quicklist PART II: Law School is a Bad Investment News Articles

Quicklist PART II: Law School is a Bad Investment News Articles
Too Many Law Schools and Law School: A Poor Investment:
2013 Mainstream News Articles List

These news articles are provided for quick reference as similar issues have been addressed in depth in prior posts:

07/24/2013: Tampa Bay Times, Blumner: Laying down the law school, Robyn E. Blumner

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/laying-down-the-law-school/2132968

07/22/2013:
Bloomberg News, When Law School is No Longer a Safe Bet

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-22/when-law-is-no-longer-a-safe-bet.html

07/19/2013:
The Nashville Ledger, The Case of the Shrinking Law Schools:
Enrollment slides as sotential students argue costs v. benefits
Friday, Vol. 37, No. 29
Jeannie Naujeck

http://www.nashvilleledger.com/editorial/ArticleEmail.aspx?id=67645

04/25/2013: Foreign Policy, Should You Go to Law School?
The good, the bad, and the ugly about getting a J.D., Rosa Brooks

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/25/should_you_go_to_law_school

04/05/2013:  The Huffington Post, If Law School Affordability Doesn’t Improve, Enrollment Will Continue To Decline: Analysis,Tyler Kingkade

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/law-school-affordability-enrollment_n_3023091.html

03/21/2013: CNBC, Courtroom Drama: Too Many Lawyers, Too Few Jobs, Mark Koba

http://www.cnbc.com/id/100569350

03/14/2013
Washington Monthly, Why Law School Doesn’t Work Anymore, Daniel Luzer

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_03/why_law_school_doesnt_work_any043593.php

Bloomberg’s News Article, Death of the Legal Industry and its Obituary

Law school No Longer a Safe Safe Bet

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-22/when-law-is-no-longer-a-safe-bet.html

Bloomberg News

Although the article seems to mourn associates and their high salaries which the author recognizes is only a small percentage of actual attorneys, it gives the reader a backlash if you are a law graduate. It references how white collar employees who demeaned or look down upon blue collar workers in the 1950s who chose to forego higher education. This portion is distasteful as many law graduates who graduated before the 2008 economic collapse but in the late 1990s or later had nothing to do with 1950s social stigma as they were not even born and just emphasizes what I pointed out in the last point that no one cares what happens to attorneys as society has nearly always relegated practitioners as underhanded, spoiled, backstabbers and overpaid. The author basically gives a “middle finger” to attorneys and reflects why there is lack of support of reform from the accrediting agencies to those on Capitol Hill. The article did however discussed the legal industry as dead (yet more confirmation from mainstream media) and even wrote its obituary. A portion of the news article is displayed below:
_______________________________________________________

When I was contemplating becoming an English major, lo these many years ago, one helpful counselor told me that despite the stereotypes, English majors had lots of job opportunities. Advertising, public relations, academia. “And there’s always law school!” she said chirpily.
I didn’t end up going to law school; instead, after graduating, I embarked on a peripatetic odyssey of jobs and graduate school that culminated in my becoming a journalist. But I can imagine an alternative universe in which I did go to law school. Law school has long been the backup plan for humanities majors who don’t quite dare to apply for food stamps.
That era appears to be ending. Noam Scheiber writes the obituary:
“‘Stable’ is not the way anyone would describe a legal career today. In the past decade, twelve major firms with more than 1,000 partners between them have collapsed entirely. The surviving lawyers live in fear of suffering a similar fate, driving them to ever-more humiliating lengths to edge out rivals for business. ‘They were cold-calling,’ says the lawyer whose firm once turned down no-name clients. And the competition isn’t just external. Partners routinely make pitches behind the backs of colleagues with ties to a client. They hoard work for themselves even when it requires the expertise of a fellow partner. They seize credit for business that younger colleagues bring in.
“And then there are the indignities inflicted on new lawyers, known as associates. The odds are increasingly long that a recent law-school grad will find a job. Five years ago, during a recession, American law schools produced 43,600 graduates and 75 percent had positions as lawyers within nine months. Last year, the numbers were 46,500 and 64 percent. In addition to the emotional toll unemployment exacts, it is often financially ruinous. The average law student graduates $100,000 in debt.
“Meanwhile, those lucky enough to have a job are constantly reminded of their expendability. ‘I knew people who had month-to-month leases who were making $200,000 a year,’ says an associate who joined a New York firm in 2010. They are barred from meetings and conference calls to hold down a client’s bill, even pulled off of cases entirely. They regularly face mass layoffs. Many of the tasks they performed until five or ten years ago—like reviewing hundreds of pages of documents—are outsourced to a reserve army of contract attorneys, who toil away at one-third the pay. ‘All these people kept on going into this empty office,’ recalls a former associate at a Washington firm. ‘No one introduced them. They were on the floor wearing business suits. … It was extremely creepy.’ Still, any associate tempted to resent these scabs should consider the following: Legal software is rapidly replacing them, too.”

Too Little Too Late Part II: ABA Journal Article

A recent blurb was published in the online ABA Journal positing the question of how to improve law schools. One of the highlighted suggestions included reducing the cost of a law school education. This will have a two fold negative effect: 1) As law schools are already discharging and furloughing support staff and adjunct faculty to further reduce costs will increase the loss of non tenured faculty and support staff (I know reader, I heard you chuckle) 2) Will lower the standards of a law school education which will make the law degree worth even less than it is now, as many law graduates learned the hard way. Ironically, it is published by the very law school accrediting agency that is responsible for the glut of attorneys that’s been happening for decades. Those who are in a position to implement change can start by not accrediting any more law schools and it is now time to shut down many of them. The measurement of success is not just in a constricted market but does the law degree hold value when the economy enjoys economic progress. For most, the answer is “no” as the problem existed for decades cloaked under false employment statistics and contract work. For many law schools the following suggestions is akin to performing CPR after the person has died.
I hope you enjoy the comic relief:
____________________________________
How to improve law school? Required clinical training, capped loans are among expert suggestions

http://www.abajournal.com/mobile/article/how_to_improve_law_school_required_clinical_training_capped_loans_are_among/

By Debra Cassens Weiss
Jul 24, 2013, 05:45 am CDT
Law schools that once promised grads a place among the elite need to change along with the legal profession, according to several experts who offered their suggestions.

The New Republic queried the experts as a follow-up to an article that, in its words, “chronicles the looming economic collapse of the legal profession.” ABAJournal.com reported on the highlights or the prior article here. The experts’ suggestions are here.

Among the suggestions gathered by the New Republic:

• From Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz: Law schools should offer two years of academic instruction and a third year focused on the student’s career choice that could include internships and clinical training. The third year change might result in the need for fewer teachers and reduced costs. “There are no free lunches when it comes to legal education,” he write, “but cost-cutting is essential as law-school tuition has ballooned dramatically over the past half century.”

• From University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos, who formerly blogged at Inside the Law School Scam: Cap student loans. “The cost of law school needs to be reduced to what it was a generation ago,” he writes. “This would happen practically overnight if the federal government put reasonable caps on educational loans.”

• Slate legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick: Add a hands-on clinical component to legal education, and put it during the first year. “The hope is that a year of practicing taking depositions, doing document review, and interviewing cranky clients might have helped clarify for many of us, early and often, that we won’t all get to be Clarence Darrow,” she says.

Reminder to Law Graduates: Student Loans Are Not Dischargeable

Early last year I posted about recent law graduates who filed bankruptcy due to student loans: 
‘Breaking News (02/03/2012): Law grads go to Court for Bankruptcy Protection’

http://lifesmockery.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/breaking-news-02032012-law-grads-go-to-court-for-bankruptcy-protection/

This is to remind law graduates and those who plan to attend law school and estimate that if their law career doesn’t hold muster that they can seek relief from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. This is not the case, you do not have the protection of the law on your side, it is all for big business and corporate greed. As other bloggers continue to emphasize: student loans are non-dischargable debt.

The following TIME magazine article, also from last year explains the same: Why Can’t You Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy, TIME Magazine, February 09, 2012:

http://business.time.com/2012/02/09/why-cant-you-discharge-student-loans-in-bankruptcy/

Opinion: Contract Work & ‘Minorities’

The following simply needs to be said and the reader can take this with a grain of salt:

Most contract attorneys’ general self esteem is so low due to a feeling of powerless or incompetence that they focus on attackng (false accusations, name calling, other manners of one sided anatgonism) one another (who are usually complete strangers) for one more day or even a few hours more of hours of work to increase their unpredictable paychecks. This phenomenon is most pervasive among Black attorneys who know that they have been already been shut out of the mainstream workforce and solidifies mainstream America’s perception that most possess the inability to be professional, complete assignments that they are PAID to do, to speak in a normal tone in which they do not sound like childish bullies, nor do most embrace diversity.  It appears to be simple but these are insurmountable tasks for ghetto blacks who attain a JD and nothing else. No prepared goals or self development or expansion of their views including the world around them, resulting in tunnel vision and narrowminded mindset.  As a result the ‘gangsta’ and ‘b****y’ troublemaking attitudes exacerbates the problems that minorities have in this shrinking field. Of course not all Blacks in law or even legal contract work are like this. But most who are one will notice are contract attorneys, others who aren’t are unfortunately and oft-times swept up into the stereotype bin sourrounded by those with the ‘crabs in a barrel’ mentality. This is easily perceptible among Black women.  

With the given financial problems that law schools, law firms and law students and attorneys are facing, these inappropriate, narcicssitic and childish behaviors only make it easier to shut minorities who do not possess these characteristics out of the workforce regardless of ambition, talent or intelligence.

I do not dare assert that doing contract work will lead to a job–most attorneys who are not new law school graduates know this is false. The problem is that attorneys with deranged mentalities find joy in creating a hostile, disruptive work environment in an already degrading set of circumstances and I see it primarily among women. (Black, White and Asian) Perhaps this is why most people assume all contract attorneys are bipolar, schizophrenic or possess some other type of mental defect.

In other words, these types of people in the field make it harder for people of color who are generally normal and desire success and do not have plans to be in those types of environments for the long haul.

The only type of people who enjoy mischief and harming innocent strangers can simply be described as demonic. Another reason why no one cares what happens to attorneys.

Another Law Graduate Shares Her Woes of Unemployment and Poverty

(Over)Educated, Black, Broke, and Jobless in NYC

“Share my day to day struggle of trying to find gainful employment in New York City after earning three degrees. Will I make it or will I end up homeless? Only time will tell, and there is not much left. . .”

http://diariesofanunemployed.tumblr.com/

You cannot make this stuff up! I don’t recall how I stumbled across this page. It appears to be similar to a blog but the posts are shorter.

From the title and caption summary it appears this person has a PhD–wrong a law school graduate.

If you scroll down to the post entitled “Bitter” you will realize it is yet another unemployed law graduate struggling to provide for her basic needs. Another one bites the dust. You who still want to attend law school, should perish the thought. Or let homelessness, malnutrition and depression and unemployment be your demise. Your choice.

Georgetown Law Graduate Discusses Law School: Is it Worth It?

Freedom from the Sunk Cost Fallacy: Say No to Law School

http://drewfrederick.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/freedom-from-the-sunk-cost-fallacy-say-no-to-law-school/

July 2013

During my fourth semester of law school, having already put in two years’ patent law work at a prestigious law firm, I realized that I didn’t want to be a lawyer.  All my friends told me to stick it out and finish the final year since I’d already invested two years of my life, and a lot of money, into law school.

Then I discovered the sunk cost fallacy: the mistake of incorporating past losses into current decisions.  For example, consider two men who have concert tickets to a favorite band playing at an outdoor venue; the first man received his free as a promotion while the second man paid $50.  On the evening of the concert, the weather is terrible and neither man wants to go.  The first man rationalizes that his ticket was free anyway, so doesn’t go, while the second forces himself to go, lest he lose $50.

But, of course, the ideal rational decision should be the same.  In both cases, at the time of decision, the men simply possess tickets to a show.  Assuming their preferences are the same, it is irrelevant how they came by those tickets – therefore, neither should go.  The second man has been duped by the sunk cost fallacy, believing that the cost already sunk in his ticket is relevant to a later decision.  It isn’t.

In deciding whether to finish my final year of law school, the only relevant question was whether it was worth the additional year and expense to receive my law degree; it was irrelevant whether I’d already spent two days, two years, or two decades pursuing the degree.  I finally decided that it was, considering that a law degree can be used to open a wide variety of doors (not just doors to law firms), but if I’d been in the same position after only my first year, with another two more years to go, my decision would have been to walk – nay, run.

Now that graduate degrees are what undergraduate degrees were twenty years ago, Generation Y seems to feel professionally incomplete without a master’s degree, law degree, or MBA.  U.S. law schools are graduating more future lawyers than ever before, and it’s a booming business for University, Inc.  Unfortunately, job opportunities and income are simply not keeping pace with the supply of graduate degrees, and Millennials now complain of debt, particularly student debt, as their “biggest financial concern.”  So it’s worth asking the question: Is law school worth it?  Let’s look.

Tuition.  At Georgetown University Law Center, my alma mater, annual tuition for 2012-13 was $48,835.00.  Just tuition.  To give you an idea of how much that is, here is a picture of several stacks of $100 bills, totaling $40,000.  Stare at this picture for a moment.  Then repeat to yourself: All this money is NOT ENOUGH for a SINGLE SEMESTER of law school tuition.
Living expenses.  Depends on where you go to law school, of course, but D.C. is not a cheap place to live.  My poorest law school friends squeaked by on another $20,000 a year, but most people racked up $30,000+ a year in rent, utilities, insurance, transportation, books, fees, and entertainment.
Opportunity cost.  Few Americans have enough savings for six months’ worth of unemployment; can you imagine three years of unemployment?  Some students were lucky enough to get summer associate positions at law firms but they were few and far between.  Most students settled for a modestly paid or even unpaid summer internship.  To calculate opportunity cost, figure out how much you could have made in the same period and subtract what you actually did make.  For most law students, the opportunity cost is well over $30,000 a year.
Interest.  Money ain’t cheap.  Most students will pay interest on their entire law school debts for many years after graduation.
Let’s assume a net expense of $70,000 per year for three years, plus an annual opportunity cost of $30,000, and amortize that over ten years at 6% per year.  That comes to a monthly cost of $3,330, or about $40,000 per year – for the next ten years.  But remember: that $40K premium is paid with after-tax dollars.  (Yes, there is a student loan interest deduction, but it’s limited to $2500, a tiny fraction of the interest paid, and it doesn’t apply to single people whose adjusted gross income is over $75,000.)  At a 30% marginal tax rate, representing federal and state income taxes, this $40K premium actually represents $57,000 of one’s nominal income.

In other words, if you go to law school under the above assumptions, then you’ll be paying $57,000 a year for the next decade just to break even, so your new job as a lawyer better account for that.  But what happens if you discover you don’t like practicing law?  Or what if your law degree doesn’t add $57K to your salary?  The major D.C. law firms, for example, are starting new lawyers at between $100K and $140K, but these positions are highly competitive and a relatively small proportion of law school graduates, even from the highest ranked schools, can get these coveted positions.

According to Above the Law, the median starting salary for law firms in 2012 was just $85K, and for those not lucky enough to land a law firm job, the median starting salary was only $60K.  Then again, over 15% of 2011 graduates had a median starting salary of $0, since they couldn’t find a job at all.

So let’s say you give up your $50K/year job to go to law school and get an $85K/year law firm job.  Not only will your real income shrink by $22,000 a year ($57,000 in annual debt payments makes a big dent in your increased salary) but you’ll actually be working significantly longer hours just to make that higher salary.  That’s right.  To succeed in one of those high-paying law firms, expect to bill 45+ hours a week, which means actually being present for 60-70 hours a week to deal with meetings, non-billables, and other administrative and corporate bullshit.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  And, of course, you can’t leave – you’ve already incurred the law school debt and need the job to pay it off.

Conclusion?

Option A: Quit your job, go to law school, incur enormous amounts of debt, compete for the coveted law firm position that will pay you, after your student loan payments, less than you made before, where you will work 50% to 75% more hours, and that you cannot leave for ten or more years because of your law school debt.
Option B: Be happy with your current job and avoid law school like the plague.

Quicklist: Law School is a Bad Investment News Articles

Law School: A Poor Investment:
2013 Mainstream News Articles List

These news articles are provided for quick reference as some have already been addressed in depth in prior posts:

04/19/2013, Volume 23, Issue 15
Is a legal education worth its costs?

http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2013041900&PHPSESSID=p8dg0htm1e5n9ljtk3qj6u4s81#.Ud13_v15mc

03/19/2013: U.S. News & World Reports, ‘Make an Informed Decision When Considering Law School –Law prof Paul Campos advises a critical look at job statistics before students pursue J.D. degrees.’ Michael Morella 

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2013/03/19/make-an-informed-decision-when-considering-law-school

TIME Magazine 03/11/2013: Just How Bad Off Are Law School Graduates?

http://ideas.time.com/2013/03/11/just-how-bad-off-are-law-school-graduates/

Huffington Post
Legal Education Crisis: Schools Need to Cut the Fluff http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-nuckols/legal-education-crisis-sc_b_2863170.html
Mark Nuckols 03/12/2013

Huffington Post
Why You Should Not Go to Law School
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tucker-max/law-school_b_2713943.html Tucker Max, 02/18/2013

02/15/2013: Hard lessons from record-low law school applications, Vera H-C Chan.

http://news.yahoo.com/hard-lessons-from-record-low-law-school-applications-200701891.html

02/10/2013:
One Law School Dean Tells Us The Real Reason No One Wants a JD Anymore

http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-sheppard-paul-campos-brian-tamanaha-law-school-bubble-2013-2

01/30/2013: The New York Times, Law Schools’ Applications Fall as Costs Rise and Jobs Are Cut, Ethan Bronner. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/education/law-schools-applications-fall-as-costs-rise-and-jobs-are-cut.html

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