Archive for February, 2012

Rejection Letters

 The following is a template rejection letter I received from USAID. Most agencies will tell you where you rank: qualified, most qualified or merely eligible. This agency just throws you in the heap with the rejected bunch. They do not send a letter with your name, address, or an RE. It is an automated generated note with the position and grade in the subject line. I received this template three times corresponding with Grades 11, 12, 13 for  this announcement number: DHA-11-0002-KD, Contract Specialist:

Thank you for your interest in USAID and the position listed above. We are writing to notify you that the team has completed the review of applicants and you were not selected for this position USAID is a rapidly growing organization that must quickly adapt to the changing world. Consequently our hiring needs change frequently. We would like to invite you to continue to look through our open positions at USAID.GOV or www.avuecentral.com. There may be other positions that might match your skills.

Because of the volume of resumes we receive, we find it necessary to use the on-line application to screen candidates. If you do apply for another position, please provide as much detail as possible on the application form. We appreciate your on-going interest in USAID and wish you the best of luck.

Thank you.

 I think with the budget cuts they also lost creativity. At this point who needs luck, this industry is in need of a miracle.

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Law Professor and Former Dean Writes Book Exposing the Law School Scam

This article The Bad News Law Schools – NYTimes.com (2/20/2012) describes what a former law school dean but still law professor has to say regarding law schools failings and the American Bar Association’s complicity in the legal industry crisis:

In fact, that news was itself not so new. Uneasiness about the state of legal education has been around for some time, but in the wake of the financial meltdown of 2008, uneasiness ripened into a conviction that something was terribly wrong as law school applications declined, thousands of lawyers lost their jobs, employers complained that law school graduates had not been trained to practice law, and law school graduates complained that they had been led into debt by false promises of employment and high salaries. And while all this was happening, law schools continued to raise tuition, take in more and more students, and construct elaborate new facilities.

Well, I think this sums it up.

A Dream Deferred: Student loans, Debt and Law Graduates

According to this article; Leaving College with a Degree and Thousands in Debt (02/17/2012) This is you trade off-a parchment declaring you’ve jumped through all of the sanctioned hoops to demonstrate you’re smart; an invoice showing that you have mortgaged your future

Debt: It's not going anywhere

OR work hard until blue collar companies, downsize, put you in miserable conditions with room for advancement for just a few and leave yourself uncultured, stuck but with a higher probability that you can purchase a home, start a family. I know for a while bloggers promote blue-collar jobs  are better than higher education but for people of color, even working jobs that require only a high school diploma you face blatant discrimination and the likelihood of being targeted for termination (Check out EEOC adjudicated complaints filed by Hipanics, Bi-racial persons and Blacks on www.eeoc.gov). Anyway, here’s an excerpt from the article:

Until they get rid of the debt, “it is inconceivable that they’ll ever be able to buy a home,” said Steven M. Dunne, a Philadelphia consumer-bankruptcy lawyer who last year paid $36,000 to chip away at his student loans, $5,000 of that interest.

“When I graduated from law school, I knew I couldn’t make the payments with one job,” said Dunne, “so I’ve had two for the last three years.

The life of a normal adult, purchasing a home, earning a decent wage to cover basic expenses and to have a family of your own becomes a distant dream. Sallie Mae’s a’knocking.

“The impact is that I can’t afford to buy a house or a car,” he said. Essentially, “I have two mortgages to pay every month, but I don’t have any real estate to show for it.”

Congress investigates law schools

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According to the Tennesseean’s article Corporations add transparency; so can universities (02/15/2012). This makes sense. Law schools and other universities conduct themselves as for profit they should have all the regulations and accountability that goes with it. Employment statistics, true rankings, endowments, donations, investments and distribution of funding. The first paragraph of this article makes you mentally say an exclamatory *yes*:

The U.S. Senate is investigating law schools’ student data for accuracy, as evidence grows that public information released misrepresents the truth.

Hopefully, Congress will not address the legal industry like the housing market–lawsuits and settlements and restructure only for those affected since 2008 til present. These institutions of higher education have been gaming the system for decades.

Did I Read This Correctly?: ABA Telling College Students NOT To Go To Law School…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ABA Telling Law Students Not to Go To Law School (01/2012)according to Outside the Beltway the ABA issued this Statement last month. Interesting points:   

*According to the association, over the past 25 years law school tuition has consistently risen two times faster than inflation. Keep going…

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*The ABA is also warning of endowment losses, declining state support, and difficulties in fundraising that have hit law schools hard. It expects most public schools to raise tuition this year by 10 to 25 percent. Oh you were doing so well. I hardly believe law schools are “hard-up” despite law school scam warnings some law schools actually saw an increase in enrollment between 2008-2009. Or with tighter scrutiny law schools are being accountable for quality of accepted students and class size. I seriously doubt it’s for the reason the ABA claims.

To conclude: “Tens of thousands of dollars in debt — and a shiny degree: But, at the end of the day, getting a job in law could be a cold case in 2011.” Translation: Having a law degree is a dead end for your career. Enjoy.

Attorneys and Law Students Commit Suicide All Over the World

These are stories of law students and attorneys whose delusion with practicing law, obtaining a job and being able to provide for basic needs such as food is compromised, or dealt with depression and saw no other way out but suicide. From North Africa to India to to Europe Michigan, USA. This post does not endorse suicide but to provide a glimpse into other side of the legal industry and a warning to 0Ls who are convinced it will not be them. Statistics have shown that attorneys are two to six times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.  The rhetoric is fading and reality is settling in and most people are unable to deal with their false-fed dreams….

Here’s a sampling of lawyer/law student suicides from around the world. These are just the ones who made the news (protest, prestigious law firm, or top school involved).

Autopsy and 911 call reveal Fargo lawyer shot himself at I-29 rest stop (02/10/2012) HILLSBORO, N.D. – An autopsy has confirmed that Fargo attorney Steven M. Light, whose body was found Wednesday evening inside a rest stop near Hillsboro, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Traill County Sheriff’s Department said.

 “But with that, there’s so much stress and so much pressure, and that can eat you alive and make you depressed,” Richie said.

Law Students Commit Suicide (02/07/2012) Rohtak (Haryana), Feb 7 (PTI) A law student allegedly committed suicide by jumping before a moving train here, police said.Babli (22), who was pursuing LLB from Maharshi Dayanand University, ended her life by jumping before Delhi-Jind Passenger train yesterday, they said.
The reason behind the girl taking the extreme step is yet to be ascertained, police said.

Moroccan law graduate who set himself on fire dies  (01/24/2012)  A 27-year-old Moroccan who set himself on fire to protest his unemployment died from his burns Tuesday in a Casablanca hospital, his wife said.

Abdelwahab Zaydoun was part of a group of unemployed graduates who occupied an Education Ministry building inRabat, the Moroccan capital, to protest their unemployment and threatened to set themselves fire when police didn’t let supporters deliver them food.

Prosecutor commits suicide during traffic stop (11/11/2011): Christine Trevino, 51, of Escondido committed suicide at 6:36 p.m. outside a shopping center at Vista Way and Jefferson Street, north of state Route 78. Police had been looking for her to conduct a welfare check, said Lt. Leonard Mata in a news release.

Escondido police had received information earlier in the day that Trevino had threatened to kill herself, got into her car and drove away from her home. Using unmarked cars, police tracked her cell phone and located her in Carlsbad, where they requested assistance from the Carlsbad Police Department.

Council lawyer who hanged himself ‘wrote suicide letter to controversial boss Andrea Hill’ (08/31/2011)

Student’s Death Likely a Suicide (04/29/2010) CHAPEL HILL — A student found dead in an Odum Village apartment on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus Wednesday was a third-year law student who appeared to have killed himself, law school dean Jack Boger said Thursday.

Pune Law Student Commits Suicide (01/26/2010)PUNE/AHMEDNAGAR: A second-year student of DES Law College in Pune allegedly committed suicide by jumping into a well at Umbare Khandba village near Rahuri in Ahmednagar district, about 150 km from Pune, on Monday.

Suicide Victim a Baker & Hostetler Partner (01/22/2010) Police have determined that the death of John Mason Mings earlier this week on a beach in Galveston, Texas, was an apparent suicide. Mings was 45.

Body of Missing University of Michigan Law Student Found (12/03/2009) A University of Michigan Law School student reported missing last month hanged himself, Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputies said.

She was a mother of three and top lawyer who jumped off a bridge into the Thames. What does her death tell us about Britain today? (08/01/2009)

What do you do when your child is asking for you, while your boss is insisting that you get yourself into the next meeting, all the time desperately trying not to show one iota of the stress you are under beneath that polished veneer of professionalism.

It is an impossible situation. Why do it? For power and prestige? For inner fulfillment? Clearly, the latter was insufficient to prevent this lovely young woman cracking under the strain of it all and seeking her own final solution

Mark Levy–Laid off Lawyer Commits Suicide (04/30/2009). Mark Levy, a Washington DC lawyer, shot himself in the head in his office one day after being laid off from his law firm Kilpatrick Stockton.

 …David Baum, the law school’s assistant dean and senior manager of student affairs, said in a statement posted on Above the Law that the school had been aware of McGinnis’ challenges and adjusted his academic load.

Someone Started a New Blog: An Unemployed Recent Law Graduate

Throwing Money in the....

This blog is very recent. Apparently it chronicles the downfall being a new law graduate who has passed their state bar and is looking for a job.  For many of you 0Ls this will be your unfortunate fate.  Learn from others’ mistakes:

The blog is called: Value of a Law Degree

The Law School Scam: More Law Schools Sued!

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I double-checked and did notice this news article Former Law Students Sue Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Others Over Grade (02/08/2012) reported law students who have sued two law schools. The law schools-Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law  appears to be separate from the other lawsuits against 12 law schools 12 Law Schools Sued Over Misleading Jobs Data (02/12/2012) sued for misleading students with skewed employment statistics and fudging their rankings.

These law students sued over the grading system. I will be the first to agree. Should you be the son or daughter of a local judge, know that your grade will automatically be above the middle or top.  Should you be a minority–good luck. Some of these professors will treat you like sh** more than the other law students and will abuse the socratic method to the point where you’re awaiting Strom Thurman to break out his overseer whip. Or arrange the pecking order a different way if you’re not only a person of color but a woman, another level of being a minority. The truth is it doesn’t matter how good you are. The bias exists one way or another, race, gender, personality  differences…. Do not think you have to know someone is for the getting a job only, it applies in law school as well. The law school classroom is their stage and you, dear student are the marionette.  Why put yourself through that abuse, while indebting yourself to a system that could care less that you live or die. Some of us did not know in advance what we would endure. But you do, it is your choice.

Law School Losing Allure For Part-time Students; Continued Exposure About Rankings/Standards

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A few highlights from the news article Part-time Law School Loses Allure (02/06/2012) “The question has become, ‘Am I going to fill my part-time class this year?’ ” Rutt said.  “In the Northeast, people have many options, and I think some part-time programs are going to go away. Frankly, I don’t think the demand is there. It is jargon meaning:  there are too many law schools.

Ooh, more investigations: Meanwhile, law schools continued to create part-time programs. There were 40 part-time day programs at ABA-accredited schools in 2006 and 53 by 2010. Similarly, there were 55 evening part-time programs in 2006 and 65 by 2010. Garon and others have speculated that the U.S. News loophole prompted some of this growth — law schools could admit weaker students without compromising their rankings.

Exposing the law school scam: The council data showed that, on average, students in part-time programs had lower LSAT scores and undergraduate grade-point averages than all new law students combined. U.S. News explained its decision to close the loophole by saying that the new methodology “produces the most complete comparisons.”

“One reason we might see some part-time programs close is because of the U.S. News rule change,” said Eric Janus, dean of the William Mitchell College of Law. “A number of law schools founded or expanded their part-time programs as a way to hide their students with lower credentials. Now, every student counts.”

A larger number of schools will “tinker” with their part-time model, Garon continued, perhaps offering more online courses or adding low-residency programs allowing out-of-town students to convene on campus for three-day stretches. In other words,  as regulators find irregularities and further scrutinize law school practices, law schools will seek another method to circumvent it.

Another option is to offer a “vanilla” J.D. degree — centered on basic law courses such as torts and civil procedure — at a lower price, then charge extra for clinics and other resource-intensive classes, Garon said. Schools also could do a better job of integrating specialties such as entertainment law, health law and intellectual property into their part-time programs, to open up new streams of potential students.

Hey maybe they can provide a 2 for 1 on elective courses; would you like fries with that J.D.?

More on Accountability: ‘Law School Transparency Weighs in on Reform’

Waiting for the Anvil to Fall

Law School Transparency Weighs in on Reform (02/08/2012):

“We founded LST because we saw how difficult it is for prospective students to compare employment outcomes at various schools. This has grown to us advocating for all sorts of consumer-oriented policies to combat significant problems in legal education. One method is producing reports that highlight the misinformation law schools provide about post-graduation outcomes; our latest is the Transparency Index Report.”

LST puts the burden on current students to make their law school administrations to tell the truth, for many though it is too late. What would be the effect on their grades, their chances of being black-listed for clerkships, summer apprenticeships should they “rock the boat.” No easy answer. Law schools do attract bright, inquisitive minds but many attract the sheister stereotypes–the back stabbers, the what ifs brown-nosers who will do anything to get to the top of his class. All this to confront while Sallie Mae is waiting for you at the end of the law school tunnel with a bill in one hand and a financial anvil in another ready to crush your future should you be unable to pay.

Simpler language, we are well aware that law schools have deceived 0Ls and those who underwent the lawschool scheme. We are exposing the false information law schools provide which lures the reader into thinking law school is a viable investment in their futures. Fraud by inducement.

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