Archive for Esquire

#@&% No!: More lawyers of color a law school priority (Updated)

You see this? More lawyers of color a law school priority (Daily Planet, 05/24/2012)When an industry is failing that’s when they desire more people of color–so they can take them down with them. A year ago I posted an article regarding this issue and apparently it is being revisited. Listen wisely people of color, especially Blacks. Do not allow propaganda, rhetoric and false promises deceive you into attending law school. Let’s look at the facts:

*Law school tuition increases, while unemployment in the legal industry steadily decreases.

*Since the 2008 recession, the U.S. national unemployment rate hovered I think around 9+%. For Black Americans specifically it was a consistent 15%. When things are bad, they are really bad for Blacks.

*Unemployment as of last week continued to worsen in the public sector (federal and state government), because as one news article reported the bulk of Black unemployment is in this sector. Translation: whites in the mid to BigLaw firms have always been hesitant if not blatantly refuse to hire you. For those wise enough to apply to Yale or Harvard, a white male from the same alma mater will still win over you.

*The average law student must take out student loans: No ifs, ands, or buts. So an average person of color from working class or middle class will never have ALL of their tuition/fees paid by non-dischargrable Sallie Mae debt. Should you be able to find a job upon graduation, know that you will not make $150,000+ starting nor ever. Since state and federal government have continued to shrink its workforce, by the time new 0Ls apply there will be even less jobs in that sector.

This industry wants to get as many people of color mired in debt. Use your critical thinking skills and common sense. As mentioned before, you are wise to this game they’re attempting to play. Remember when the 4th tier UB Law attempted to open a branch law school in Prince George’s County-a county that has always been historically Black? It didn’t go through (See my post: Does Prince George’s Need a Law School?: An Article in The Washington Post (February 11, 2010) It does not matter if it’s Maryland or Minnesota or Massachussetts, it is a horrible scheme across the board.

Now there’s another scheme in the works in the guise of getting people of color represented in the legal industry. How about getting people of color represented in a legitimate workforce that actually helps them achieve a standard of living and have dignity? No, just more debt. Nothing but legal education sharecropping. You will be calling Sallie Mae “master.”

**Please also see: Minorities Decrease Enrollment in Law Schools: They Figured Out the Game (07/16/2010; Life’s Mockery)

Advertisements

“American law schools in crisis” Title of a Recent News Article

Yes, the mainstream media continues to take the baton in this law school-scam-busting relay. Likely the primary reason for these news outlets to focus on law schools because graduate level students take more debt than undergraduates (usually) and the student loan bubble has been stewing in a pot of Congress’ let’s turn away and not deal with it kitchen until it’s too late.  I laughed when I saw the first paragraph thinking “we told you so.” It’s like applying pharmacy ointment on a 4th degree burn. The article was written by a former dean at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Interesting, maybe he’s trying to mitigate potential lawsuits against him, other deans and law schools, though I found another article about this guy planning to resign months ago because he disagreed with how the LAW SCHOOL WAS SPENDING MONEY (Closius resigns as UB Law dean, Maryland Daily Record, 07/2011).

Anyway, here’s an excerpt of “American Law Schools in Crisis”:

The Golden Age of American legal education is dead.

Every law dean knows it, but only some of them will feel it. Elite schools (the top 25 in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings) and the 43 non-elite state “flagship” law schools are almost immune to market pressures. Those at risk will come from the other 132 law schools — the ones that produce the majority of law graduates…

Jobs and tuition, then, become an issue of quality admits. The fall 2010 entering class actually increased to a new high of 49,700, even as the job market was falling. Schools must now choose between admitting smaller entering classes (and sacrificing revenue) or dealing with a decline in the quality of their students — or both.

You hear that 0L? Stop the delusion, the madness, and unfortunately for people of color who thought going to law school was the one lift they needed for upward mobility it has not been this way for 20 years. I suggest engineering, chemistry/scientist. I would say medical doctor but that industry is corrupt in and of itself. For those of you who attended law school and continued to do so after seeing these blogs, the only thing I can suggest is despite the “competition” naturally inherit in American adulthood, do something for your fellow man/woman. Warn them about the perils of attending law school. The full article can be found at the Baltimore Sun website here: American law schools in crisis 06/04/2012

$10,000 First Year Associate Salary-Boston

No,this is not a joke. The article begins with:

Say No to Law School
Protect Your Sanity and Your
Financial Future

By now, most people know a law degree hardly guarantees law school graduates will snag a good job, let alone a high-paying BigLaw position.

But it may be even tougher than you think to get a high-paying legal job just out of law school. Hiring law firms, if you thought you were low-balling new grads, think again. (Boston Business Journal 06/01/2012): Legal job market hits new low: BC Law lists job below minimum wage 

Yahoo’s version: (06/01/2012)  Attention Lawyers: Get Your … $10,000 a Year Salary: 

The beginning of the article states: Attention college students applying to law school: put down the LSAT prep book. You might want to consider another line of work.

How can this be legal, it reminds me of how waitresses are paid poorly on an hourly basis then make most of their money on commission, maybe this is the same scheme. For shame, BELOW MINIMUM WAGE. Sallie Mae, SLM, Access, Nelnet does not care: All they say is _________ , you better have my money with a financial, back-handed slap known as late charges, additional finance charges, interests and other ‘costs.’

This has been going on for decades. Mainstream media is just late to the party; I would dare say ‘fashionably late.’ The kind of oh I was going to get there, so when I (mainstream media) arrive I appear to expose this dying legal market.

Cautionary Advice about Attending Law School-Clark Howard

A few days ago, when I actually had access to a television I saw Clark Howard’s show. For those who do not know, he is a regular guy who kind of became obsessed with money and saved much at a young age and now gives advice to others.

Anyway, a young man called in stating he was accepted to a few law schools and was asking which one, if any should he attend. The caller stated that a low ranked law school offered him $15,000 a year to defray the cost of attending such a ‘prestigious’ institution. He also explained that one of the other law school’s he applied for higher ranked but did not offer a scholarship at all.

Clark Howard asked him that it really didn’t make a difference between law schools and ask the gentleman whether or not he thought it was worth it since the legal industry has continued to suffer under this economy. Clark Howard proclaimed that if one of the law schools ranked in the Top 5 (notice not 1st tier, not first 25, not top 14 or 10, but 5!)…then long term investment even without scholarship would be worth it, otherwise he should really consider his choices among the law schools. I looked at Clark Howard’s face and knowing he is conservative with his money it looked like he wanted to say don’t go to law school but feared backlash. Kind of what Oprah suffered when she made don’t eat beef comment then was the target for a civil lawsuit.

Where were the  Clark Howards of the world hen the rest of us applied?

A tale of a unemployed lawyer: He’s neither seasoned or a new law graduate

Random conversation with an elderly lady. She stated that her grandson was a law graduate from Villanova University from a few years ago. So I’m assuming between three and four years. His parents (her son and daughter in-law) told her grandson that they were willing to pay for all of his undergraduate studies but if he wanted to attend law school he was on his own.

The 0L at the time probably thought he was ahead of the game. Though he has graduated with thousands of dollars less in debt than his contemporaries or his predecessors who have accumulated interest on their student loans, did he really stay ahead? He’s about four years from law school, no legal experience  and would have been better off taking that Bachelor’s degree and working his way into a company. Though my suggestion is a fading trend as most jobs are being outsourced regardless of the educational requirement. I remember reading a news article saying that the next time you’re at a resort or hotel the waiter serving you poolside might be an accountant, let’s add lawyer to the list.

Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy: Predatory Student Loan Lenders, Middle Class Hope for Upward Mobility, the Legal Industry and the Inevitable Bubble

As some potential law students continue to await LSAT scores, law school admissions or are wondering whether or not going to law school will give them that one chance at a better life, it would benefit you to read the following:

Being led to the slaughter

A law journal article: 20 Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy 67 (2010)
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

O.k. so this article is 72 pages, obviously I won’t delve into the entire piece but I am placing some introductory quotes in which the author is direct with failing legal industry and how the student loan industry are basically predators. He specifically discusses law schools and new lawyers are a bad investment. the author is a ‘distinguished lecturer.’ The author is a law professor and is honest enough to basically state that going to law school isn’t worth it. Do you 0Ls get it? one of your potential professors is telling you that LAW SCHOOL IS A BAD INVESTMENT!

Here are the Table of Contents for a very brief overview:
INTRODUCTION                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I. THE RUNAWAY COSTS OF AMERICAN LEGAL EDUCATION
By the Numbers
The Causes: A Combustible Mix of Accreditation,Rankings, Peculiar Incentives and Federal Encouragement
A Brief History of the Law School and Its Accreditation
The Rankings Game
The Peculiar Incentives of the Law School Faculty
The Federal Government and the Student Loan Market
The Scope of Government Involvement
Crisis in the Market and the Emergence of SAFRA
Income-Based Repayment and More of the Same
“For-Profit” Schools and a Way Forward

THE DISAPPOINTING REVENUE PICTURE FOR LAW SCHOOL GRADUATES
INFORMATION ASYMMETRIES AND ENTERPRISE LIABILITY
Informational Asymmetries Abound
Applying Lessons from Enterprise Liability Theory

Now for some introductory quotes:
Runaway tuitions and the burdensome student debt required for most Americans to obtain a post-secondary degree are under scrutiny like never before.4 Evidence is beginning to mount that, for too many students, debt-financed education represents a stifling encumbrance instead of the great investment that society’s collective commonsense has long advanced.5 Such a finding is unsurprising in light of the fact that, for too long, the value of education has been reflexively embraced without adequate examination of its cost. (p. 69-70)

As most bloggers have been stating, the cost is not worth the proposed benefit with all of the practical variables: economy, shrinking industry, inflation, lower salaries, loan payments and their capitalized interest as well as the time and psychological warfare this field demands.

The cost of attending law school, for example, has increased at two to three times the rate of inflation over the last three decades.11 The promise of accessible loans has made loan eligible middle- and lower-income students an easy mark for unabashed, aggressive student-loan marketing.12 “The end result,” in fact, “has been an unprecedented, debt-fueled wealth transfer from students of modest means to the increasingly prosperous higher education industry and opportunistic student loan lenders.” (p. 71-72)

Now deemed “McLaw” this along with LPOs and general outsourcing has set the middle class population in a cycle of perpetual financial slavery. Upward mobility is not founded in usurious personal debt. Do not think of the titles. Do not think of prestige. Think of your life and happiness and with any common sense you will decide not to attend law school.

US News & World Reports: (Law School) Know What You’re Getting Into

US News & World Reports
Ann Levine
November 22, 2010

I am proud to be a lawyer and I am proud to help other people reach their dream of becoming a lawyer. [sounds desparate to sell the profession]. However, there have been numerous stories recently that may discourage you from applying to law school. There are negative and disgruntled law students and attorneys warning you about the evils of law schools, of the profession, and of anyone remotely related to it. My goal is to make sure you don’t join that disgruntled bunch. [Which can simply be prevented by not attending law school]

So, if you decide to go to law school, you need to feel that the benefits outweigh the sacrifices and potential drawbacks that many of the naysayers routinely harp on. Go into it with your eyes wide open, ready to work hard, ready to make your way and create your own career. [Sounds like a tort in the beginning you are proceeding into a known danger and that it’s forseeable that you will have damages]. You won’t expect anyone to hand you a six figure job at graduation.

[This is such a misleading characterization, that most attorneys EXPECT six figures. No most attorneys expect after committing and investing time, money, effort and basically their life into achieving admittance into a noble profession that one can obtain a job in which one can have DECENT housing, food and transportation. The only graduates who really expect six figures upon graduation are those set for the patent bar, trust fund babies, IVY League graduates with connections.]

You will go into this with an understanding of the realities of the profession. You will know that success does not happen overnight, that your dream job isn’t the first job out of law school, but the one you hold ten years down the road. [false misrepresentation, how in the world can such a writer state this with a ‘straight face’ without submitting statistics or even state based on people he or she knows. It appears the author writes in theory or the same rhetoric that continues to be told to unsuspecting 0Ls.]
There is no fast track to success in law school or in anything else in life. The key is to make the best decisions you can about your future with the information you currently have at your disposal.

I want you to really consider whether to go to law school, and I want to share the questions you should be asking before you go. Plus, I want to make sure you are equipped to make good decisions about where to attend.

Let’s start here: Reasons NOT to Go to Law School:

1. Money (How much does law school cost and how can I pay for it?)

2. Time (three years full-time, 4 years part-time)

3. Bad career outlook in current economic environment

4. It’s difficult

5. It’s competitive

6. There are too many lawyers

It appears that 1, 3, 5, 6 are all related to NOT being able to get a job or make decent money with a law degree. Decent refers to enough money to sustain you and your family (whatever that may be) with food, gas, heat, electricity, housing and transportation. Four out of the six reality checks are stating that you cannot live a normal life with a law degree. So those of you who are already making $50,000-$75,000 without a law degree; you are in a much better position than most licensed American attorneys. So, does it make ANY sense to encumber your life with unnecessary debt to be in a profession with superficial professionalism, mentally disabled persons who many have broken down after realizing the reality of what going to law school has done to them, all while struggling to meet your monthly financial obligations and reaching for straws to keep a facade of upward mobility. Reason with yourself and don’t ignore the signs.

Points 2 and 4 are related to losing valuable years of your life to spend hours, days, weeks studying to impress law professors who already made their decisions of who each student is, where they will fall in the mandatory curve within the first week of classes, all the while subjecting students to the Socratic method with the intent of satisfying a power-trip. Now all professors are like this but most are. Your first year you do not select your law professors and many have tenure, so good luck in being treated fairly while learning about the law–ironic isn’t it?

Now, the Reasons TO Attend Law School:

1. Learning how to think

2. Profession you can always rely upon/Job security

3. Helping others/contributing to the community

4. Being important and respected

5. Financial security, prosperity

Points 2 and 5 do not make any sense in light of the previous set of points. Although most professions and both the private and public sector is suffering due to the current economy, the legal profession has forever changed. There is no such thing as financial security in general when there is a permanent oversaturation of law graduates and attorneys. Due to this saturation how can point 4 be valid? Value is based on quality and rarity. Many media outlets have exposed how unprepared most law graduates are and have been over the past few decades. When lawyers are a dime a dozen, how are you important? Though theoretically an attorney is to advocate, be a defender of the Constitution, etc, most attorneys are either focused on keeping their financial security which inevitably compromises the value of the services and as a result the profession. Additionally, when there is not a demand for a product or service, the price steadily decreases (oversaturation).

You need to do your research about each one of these pros and cons. How much can you expect to make in the area of law you plan on pursuing? What would your student loan payment be? Your rent? Your car payment? Etc.

So, how can you research this? Talk to lawyers in big firms, lawyers who work for the public defender, lawyers who work in a firm with only two or three attorneys, or insurance defense attorneys. Ask them how much they made in their first five years of practice and how much they made after ten years. Ask them what they really do all day. Ask them to describe a typical case they are working on. [A simple approach is to read these blogs. The following two questions are good suggestions though:]

Ask them what time they get to the office everyday and what time they leave. Ask them if they like their jobs.
Ask them where they went to law school. Did they take a scholarship to a lower ranked school? Why or why not?

Do top law schools open some doors? Do you want to clerk for the Supreme Court? Be a law professor? I suggest you look up people who have jobs you would like to have one day and see where they went to law school.

It’s essential you have a firm grasp on what the profession entails before you commit. Comparing and contrasting the answers to these questions with your expectations is key to helping you make your decision.

If you’ve gone through this thought process and you still decide to attend law school, you will know what you are getting yourself into. You will be in a position to make good decisions about your future. And then you’ll be ready to hear this podcast: How to Get Hired as a Rookie Attorney.

In other words you will definitely be “proceeding into a known danger.”

Random thoughts

Another rejection letter: 

“Dear [                   ]

Thank you for applying for the position listed below with the Department of State:  [                   ] Officer

You were found qualified; however, in competition with other candidates, you were not referred as one of the highly qualified candidates. We thank you for your interest in the Department of State and encourage you to apply for other positions for which you are qualified.

Human Resources Team” [it’s all a game to them]

….An old episode of  ‘The Cosby Show’: Grandfather: Sandra…Princeton..how much is it costing you. Father (Bill Cosby): “it’s up there”. Grandfather: “What’s her major?” Father (Bill Cosby): She doesn’t have one. Grandfather: “She doesn’t have one?” What does she do just walk around the college? Father (Bill Cosby): Umm errr…liberal arts. Grandfather:  “What does that make her when she graduates?” Father (Bill Cosby): Nothing. Grandfather: “You mean to tell me you pay $50,000 for her to graduate, return home to be nothing?” This when tuition was likely more reasonable even for IVY League. Just imagine the dialogue for the TTT school graduate’s family.

More Rejection Letters Part II

“You submitted an application for vacancy [               ]: [                    ] Specialist,[                               ]. Although we greatly appreciate your interest in this position, ultimately another candidate was selected. You may access https://www.avuedigitalservices.com/loc/applicant.html or http://www.loc.gov or http://www.avuecentral.com to find other positions which may be of interest to you, and for which you feel you are qualified.” [lack of creativity]

“Thank you for submitting an application for the Attorney position in the Office of General Counsel, [                                   ].  Your name was referred to the selecting official for consideration; however, another applicant was selected for the position.”

“This refers to the application you recently submitted to this office for the position shown below: [                ].  The agency has cancelled this vacancy.  The position is being re-announce under new vacancy announcement number [                              ].  All applicants who applied under vacancy announcement number [                              ] are encourage to re-apply.” [so they can just cancel it again]

“You recently applied for this position at the Library Of Congress. The position has been cancelled and we will not be filling it at this time. You may access https://www.avuedigitalservices.com/loc/applicant.html or http://www.loc.gov or http://www.avuecentral.com to find other positions which may be of interest to you, and for which you feel you are qualified.” [would the trillion dollar deficit have any thing to do with jobs being advertised then cancelled]

“Your application for vacancy announcement number [                                     ](GENERAL), GS-0905e-11 in [                        ] has been reviewed.  We determined that you do not meet the specialized experience requirements identified in the vacancy announcement. Therefore, we can no longer consider you for this vacancy.”

“Your application has been received for vacancy announcement number[          ]. This announcement is for a [                     ] Specialist, GS [    ]position with the [              ] Corporation.This vacancy has been cancelled and no selection was made.  The vacancy will not be re-announced at this time.” [why must you taunt me]

“We have received your submission for the position of ASSISTANT COUNTY ATTORNEY III. Based on a review of your submission, you have been placed in the highest rating category of the eligible list for this position.  As a result, you may be contacted by the hiring authority for an interview.  However, please be aware that the hiring authority is not required to interview all applicants.” [p.s.: I was never interviewed nor was any follow-up contact made]

” We have reviewed your application and found you qualified for the position listed above.  However, you were  not among the most highly qualified candidates. Therefore, your name was not referred to the selecting official.” [you are not a 55 year old male with 16+ years of experience].  A selection has been made for this position.    Thank you for your interest in Federal employment.    PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE.  IT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY…”

More Rejection Letters

“Thank you for your interest in the [lawyer position] with the Attorney General’s Office at ___________. Due to the large volume od applicants, we were unable to extend an interview to you at this time.”

“Thank you for your interest in employment with the United States Attorney’s Office…..It was a difficult decision, but we have selected another individual whose qualifications better match our needs at this time.”

“Thank you for your interest in the [lawyer position] at the ________ District Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As you may imagine, many outstanding attorneys applied. We selected another qualified individual for the position.”

“Thank you for your interest in an Attorney Adv position at the Administrative Conference of the United States.  The Conference has completed its review of your application.
 
I regret to say that we will not be proceeding further with your application.  I am sorry to disappoint you, but we received over 900 applications and we interviewed only about 10 candidates.  Given that there was so much competition, it was inevitable that many highly qualified applicants would not be selected for interviews.”

« Previous entries