Archive for Debt

TIME Magazine Article: Just How Bad Off Are Law School Graduates?

I don’t think it is just the scam blogging I think the problem is so obvious that mainstream media has to address it:

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

The first thing I’ll note is that this piece focuses on recent graduates, when I say recent I refer to those who graduated in the past four years, primarily when the economic collapse occurred until now. This problem has been pervasive for decades and band-aiding it with non-profit centers while students have nearly mortgage-sized debt and no ability to pay or discharge the debt will not cure the law school malady. Here’s an excerpt:

And it gtimeets worse still. There are a surprising number of job postings for lawyers that offer no salary at all, including government law jobs. That raises the question — as one headline put it — “Would You Work as a Federal Prosecutor — For Free?

Being unemployed — or working at minimum wage — is rough in the best of circumstances. But it is especially crippling for students who get out of school with six-figure debts that are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. The average debt load for law school graduates is now over $100,000 — and at some schools, it tops $150,000.

My favorite part is: Prospective law students are already responding to the dismal job market. Applications to law school are expected to hit a 30-year low this year — down as much as 38% from 2010. Some law schools have responded by shrinking their class sizes, and there have been predictions that in the not-too-distant future some lower-ranked law schools might have to close entirely. (emphasis mine)

Keep it up!, with more  schools closings, more professors will lose their jobs or not make tenure and then the law school administrators and those who tortured us a purveyors of the industry in the name of intellectual pursuit will know how it feels on the other side. The message is beyond clear, it is translucent: Do not go to law school, it simply is not worth it (and stop being rude to those who did years ago, we were trying to make better lives for ourselves but apparently it was based on a lie).

Get the word out, don’t let your son, daughter, sister, brother become a victim of joblessness, insurmountable debt. Just tell them “say no” to law school–they’ll thank you in the long run.

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Too Little Too Late: Four Ways to Fix Law Schools (U.S. News & World Reports)

It has been a long time since I posted here, primarily due to focusing on my survival in such a grave economy and Sallie Mae venomously nipping at my heels. Anyway, I came across this “article” Four Ways to Fix Law Schools (click link). I find this as too little too late. Sometimes it is better to let something that is on death bed to pass away peacefully. For decades proponents of the law school industry have known that they were creating a bubble that would burst. Those law schools already in existence continued to pump out exorbitant number of law graduates by either increasing class sizes or adding programs to its over-saturated law school population. The ABA who loves to perpetuate the fun continued to accredit law schools though statistically it was quite aware of the economic burden v. benefits were not adding up. The main excuse the ABA used was that it would violate antitrust laws should it limit the accreditation of any additional law schools. This is counterintuitive. Antitrust laws exist to keep a market competitive for available sources, it is not to create a general market with barely any regulation so in reality there is no competition because there aren’t many jobs to compete for. Increasing law school admissions does not expand the job market it only makes the legal industry worse.

The suggestions listed in the article are simply too little too late. Even where it states to train U.S. attorneys to work abroad, in previous posts I have discussed that Spain, England and some Asian countries have a surplus of attorneys, and most of them do not think highly of the U.S. It is unreasonable to think that other countries, some part of the European Union which has their own economic crises to deal with, will welcome an influx of American attorneys with open arms.

Though it is common sense that in any industry, the learner must have “hands-on” experience and some level of intellectual pursuit. Law schools churned out too many “what if” asking professionals instead of those who can actually practice law. Those who can likely went to law schools that catered to local hiring and thus do not fall within the IVY League core, in essence the former has little to no change of upward mobility in experience or expanding their practicing fields. This article also focuses on the ‘future’ and has no solution or even reference to recent law graduates or attorneys who were not trained under apprenticeships though required to CLEs.  Thousands upon thousands of American attorneys who have already been thrown to the wayside, yet we are to believe that all of a sudden a 3-point article offers best solutions for potential law graduates.. Should of any of the law schools and ABA would like to take this article seriously it would have to take an economic loss by choosing a moratorium on any further law schools to be accredited and recommended lower admissions until either the legal industry re-invents itself or the lawyer to job creation numbers reaches a reasonable number. Until then this is simply baiting those who are still in their desperate state of minds consider law school as a viable option for a career and those who have a financial stake in the business aspect of the law school industry. This is just more fluff to keep the facade that the legal industry can recover. Times change, both economically and practically and they appear to change for the worse. The recommendation stays the same, the nearly insurmountable debt and poor quality of life is not worth it. Do not go to law school.

Woa Tells Us How You Really Feel: Forbes-Why Attending Law School Is The Worst Career Decision You’ll Ever Make

Why Attending Law School Is The Worst Career Decision You’ll Ever Make; Forbes Magazine, 06/26/2012

Not my words, words of Forbes magazine contributor. Wow, the magazine that is all about investing, making money, describing the wealthiest people around the world telling you law school is a bad investment. May we say told you so? This is major. We already witnessed The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal joining in the protest of ‘say no to law school,’ but Forbes. I must say this is great!

The news for would-be attorneys keeps getting worse. According to analysis from the Wall Street Journal released yesterday, only 55% of class of 2011 law school grads were employed full-time as lawyers nine months after graduation. The other 45% may be unemployed, working at Starbucks or starting their own law school hate blogs. LOVE IT.

The message that law school is no longer a sure bet when it comes to employment security and financial prosperity finally seems to be sinking in for potential students. In the last two years, the number of law school applicants has dropped by almost a quarter and the number of LSAT tests administered by the Law School Admissions Council has declined by 16%. How long we’ve been writing about this? False assurance of upward mobility, excessive debt, financial indentured servant status…This is so redundant, yet so true

Why I don’t like Sallie Mae

Well, for the obvious reasons. They are oppressive and there seems to be no end in sight for their billing tactics. We all know that recently a lawsuit was filed against Sallie Mae, SLM and subsidiaries for violating federal law. One of the options for damages is to have your student loan balance reduced instead of receiving an actual monetary award. Let’s see all of the billions of dollars in student debt, billions of consumers/students’ whose privacy rights were violated, attorney fees, court costs. I think each student will have a calculable $100 (that’s being generous) deduction.

Anyway, I was behind on the private student loans of which I have two (2). Scrimping and sacrificing to make my account current. For some reason most of the customer service representatives are vindictive women who hate their lives and take joy in making you deal with them. The other day I set up an auto payment and made a sigh of relief. This rude and cantankerous woman chuckled, literally in my ear and said even with these payments you are [this amount of time] behind. She actually had joy that I was still a little late on the most current payment. These people are sick and I’m sure they train their staff to the lowest customer service representative to the CEO that student borrowers are commodities which can be bundled (consolidated), traded (sold) and mocked. I say do whatever you can to pay off any private loans you have and let them see a grand reduction in student loan debt. Let these customer service representatives lose their jobs and see how it feels to struggle with barely anything to try to do the right thing while this corporate monstrosity makes a mockery of your effort. That my dear, will be karma.

#@&% 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)

“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.

The Mainstream Media Harks the Trumpet: Overburden Law Graduates with Usurious Student Loans (NYT)

The New York Times

So, at this point the mainstream media gets it? Why you may ask. Because the Housing bubble put the nation and the world economy on notice that the old way of financially devastating working/middle class persons who took a chance on higher education will not only destroy their way of living but burden the world economies. Interestingly, the author suggest more accountability in accredidation (not likely to happen, if Sallie Mae lobbied Congress to privatized and obliterate “fresh start” by discharging student loans through bankruptcy; I’m sure these for profit institutions will lobby (pay) Congress to keep out of ABA’s ‘free market enterprise’ of exploitation–ironically in the legal field.

He also suggests stripping away tenure track positions. Hmmm maybe professors will be forced to teach with integrity and on merit not based on race, personality conflict or whether the student is the child of a local judge. Doubt the latter, but support the author’s recommendation. Here’s an excerpt:

Two factors have combined to produce this situation: the federal loan system and the American Bar Association-imposed accreditation standards for law schools. Both need to be reformed.

First, consider the loan system. For more than three decades, law schools have steadily increased tuition because large numbers of students have been willing and able to pay whatever price the schools demanded. Annual tuition at many law schools in just over a decade surpassed $30,000, then $40,000 and is now more than $50,000 at a few. The reason that students have been able to pay such astronomical sums is that the federal government guaranteed student loans from private lenders, and now it supplies the loans itself with virtually no limits.

To restore some economic rationality, the federal loan system needs to demand greater accountability from law schools: those with a high proportion of recent graduates in financial trouble should lose their eligibility to receive money from federal loans. (A similar requirement is currently applied to for-profit colleges.)

The full article can be found at:

How to Make Law School Affordable – NYTimes.com (05/31/2012)

Summer is in the air, so is the stinch of unemployment: More Rejection Letters

What would be a start to a new season without sharing some additional rejection letters for employment the past few months. Ready, let’s dig in! :

05/25/2012:
This refers to the application you recently submitted to this office for the position below:
Position Title: Public Affairs Specialist
Series/Grade:
1035/11
Promotion Potential: 11
Vacancy ID: 651583
Agency: Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and the Office of the U.S. Attorneys
Considered For:Southern District of New York
Duty Location:
New York, NY
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 will not be referred to the employing agency at this time. If we receive a request from the agency for additional candidates, or another agency requests a list of eligibles for a very similar position within the next 90 days, your application will again be reviewed for possible referral.

I regret that a more personal form of communication is not possible. For any questions concerning this acknowledgment, please send an e-mail to usaeo.usastaffing@usdoj.gov or contact the agency representative listed in the vacancy announcement. Thanks again for your interest in employment with our agency. (Yes, I am sure you are simply heart broken that I did not receive further consideration, oops wait no real consideration for this position. Let me grab a tissue for you. Meanwhile Sallie Mae continues to threaten me because I am unable to sustain payments.

04/18/2012:
Thank you for your interest in the Attorney position with PGCPS. Unfortunately at this time, we are unable to fill this position. Please continue to check on our website for future positions at pgcps.org. (Here’s clue, stop advertising for positions you have no intent to fill. This is a waste of the local taxpayers money and for those who sent applications/resume via postal mail, it is a waste of resume paper and postage. See it costs money on both sides when you play this game).

04/09/2012:
Dear Applicant:
Thank you for your interest in the Program Manager-Libya position with the National Democratic Institute (NDI). We have received a large number of inquiries from highly qualified candidates for this role. At this time, we have decided to move forward with an individual who more closely matches the skills and qualifications required for this role. (I’m sure you have, while I applied as others encourage me to pursue the versatility aspect of a law degree and to try “something else.” Maybe you can tell them you don’t care for lawyers either.)

02/28/2012:
This refers to the application you recently submitted to this office for the position below:
Position Title: Attorney Advisor CORE
Pay Plan:   GS
Series/Grade:  0905-13
Vacancy ID: 519372
Announcement Number: MG2011-T0333-DAV-519372-COR
Hiring Office: Administrator 000 Office of Chief Counsel
Results regarding your recent referral to the Hiring Official are as follows:
Referral Type: Non-Traditional
Appointment Type: Temporary
Specialty / Grade: 0905 – 13
Promotion Potential: 13
Locations: Washington DC Metro Area, DC
The hiring office has decided not to fill the position at this time. (You don’t say, hmmm is it because of the federal deficit or the fact that people who are the highest unemployed are people of color and that’s the bulk of your applicants. Guess you are waiting for your perfect Harvard bred, Anglo-Saxon, male applicant to fill this position.)

02/23/2012:
Thank you for your interest in USAID and the position listed above (Contract Specialist). 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 http://www.avuecentral.com. There may be other positions that might match your skills. (wait I thought I could do any thing with a law degree including contracts?)
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… (I usually won’t go there but I’m at my brink so I give a “liar and f*** you” to the person who auto-generated this rejection letter.)

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?

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