Posts Tagged ‘depression’

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.”

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“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.

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.

Even Spain’s Lawyers Can’t Find Jobs

Ok, so we heard about Britain and America and the oversaturation of the legal industry. I’ve even read about American law firms merging  with British ones resulting in the inevitable loss of jobs. India, well between outsourcing contract work and their oversaturation…oh and the Nigerian “lawyer’ who migrates to New York after taking a one year LLM and presto change-o-becomes a lawyer. But Spain? Ok the article is mostly about Spain’s poor economy and unemployment in general but of course, once again one cannot report about a country’s recession without mentioning “the unemployed lawyer”; this may become a new clinical diagnosis under DSMR-VI:

Many Spaniards lucky enough to have jobs these days are underemployed — law graduates working in restaurants, for example.

Here’s the article in full: Spain workers lose bridge holidays in debt crisis austerity move (01/22/2012)

So much for finding a job abroad. In the past year the media has discussed the problem with Greece and Italy. The European Union doesn’t want to bailout Greece until Greece shows it has a plan to get its country in order. The IMF says Italy isn’t doing so bad but is hesitant to loan its government money because its economy is not in the best of shape. So I’m sure we’ll see more about how their economies are affecting the legal industry there as well.

A Law Degree and Nowhere to Go: January 24, 2010 (from Psychology Today)

I thought this was an interesting article, especially for those CONSIDERING going to law school; what’s kind of funny is the books she recommends at the end of the article, like the legal profession has dissipated!____________________________________________________

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/career-transitions/201001/law-degree-and-nowhere-go

A Law Degree and Nowhere to Go

Lawyers face unique challenges in the job market.

Published on January 24, 2010

When the recession first hit, we heard that there were certain “safe” career fields like health care, higher education, etc. But as the recession drones on, so-called safe industries are belt-tightening and finding themselves subject to the same economics stresses facing other industries. Even the practice of law.

The public perception about legal careers is generally inaccurate. People assume that a law degree guarantees a permanent job, a great income and an exciting, high-powered life fighting for justice. Not to mention a great career for those who like to argue. And the portrayal of lawyers in the media tends to support that image. When warned about this, college students planning to attend law school often say, “well I know the law isn’t exactly like “Law & Order,” but….” – and that’s where the line between myth and reality starts to blur. Sally Kane, writing for About.com identifies some of the prevalent myths about the practice of law.

The Wall Street Journal’s legal blog recently wrote about the increasing isolation in the practice of law and its relationship to depression and suicide. But the legal profession was struggling prior to the recession.

A survey in Legal Careers Blog pointed out growing dissatisfaction with the practice of law. Almost half of all lawyers expressed dissatisfaction with their careers and only 4 in 10 lawyers would recommend a legal career to others. People were looking to leave the practice of law and do anything else.

That was 2008. And then the recession really hit. Law firms have gone bankrupt. Thousands of lawyers have been laid off. New law school graduates are finding the offers less attractive and less plentiful. A legal blog, Above The Law, tracks the legal employment situation, noting weekly layoffs. Another blog, Law Shucks, runs both a “bonus tracker” and a “layoff tracker” simultaneously pointing out the appeal and the risk of the field. Both blogs point to the challenging job market for new graduates and for mid-career lawyers laid off from what were once guaranteed-for-life jobs.

All this leads to more lawyers in the general job market who, as a group, face particularly unique challenges. Employers will assume that you went to law school to be a lawyer so any other career path must be a second choice and the minute the market for lawyers returns, you’ll be gone. They may also assume that you’ll want a higher salary than other workers.

So I’m going to be blunt here: You WERE a lawyer. Get over it– if you want to get a job elsewhere. Let me explain. A law degree provides a great learning experience. You learned to create compelling arguments, develop writing skills, conduct legal analysis, solve problems creatively, etc. As a lawyer, you handled deadlines, dealt with crises, worked long hours, etc. All things employers might want.  But you also know that the word “lawyer” comes with a lot of baggage. People can view lawyers as money-oriented, manipulative, and at worst– litigious and always looking for the next lawsuit. No employer wants to live in fear that their employee will sue them, and hiring a lawyer for a non-legal job seems to invite that.

So how do you make the transition from lawyer/law student to “working anywhere but the law”?

Here are a few tips:

1. Start by analyzing your strengths and interests. What other career fields have you considered? Where would you like to apply your talents? Some career fields lend themselves more naturally to a background in law, including: academic administration, banking/finance, consulting, environmental, government, human resources, intellectual property, journalism, immigration, labor relations, publishing, real estate, and tax preparation. How would your legal background make you a better employee in your newly-chosen field?

2. Focus on the field you’re going into– not where you’ve been. Research the career fields you’re considering. Talk to people in the field. Join professional organizations related to your new field to demonstrate a sincere interest. Develop an understanding of what they do on a day-to-day basis. Determine if/where/how your legal background could contribute to the field. Remove legal jargon from your resume– make sure it speaks to the new field you’re moving into, not the old one you’re leaving.

3. Determine what percentage of time your legal education/background would come into play at the job and then tailor your cover letter, resume, and interview responses accordingly. Obviously, if the position/employer would greatly benefit from your legal degree, then go to town and tell them everything about your legal background. BUT—

4. If people can be hired for the position without a law degree– that’s a clue that your law degree isn’t the be-all and end-all and should not be the first thing you bring up. So don’t have your identity bound up in being a lawyer. Your resume will indicate your legal training and background. You need to come up with other more compelling reasons for the employer to hire you in your cover letter. For instance, don’t start your cover letter with, “As an attorney…” or waste a paragraph detailing your legal acumen when the employer doesn’t care.

5. Know why an employer might have concerns about hiring a lawyer. Don’t waste energy bemoaning the lawyer jokes and complaining that it’s not “fair.” Since you know the problem ahead of time, be ready to address concerns which might not even be voiced. Make sure employers know your skill set is greater than practicing law. And find a way to answer the unasked questions: Can you get along with people? Are you too argumentative? Are you overly competitive? Intense? Do you have hidden agendas?  Here’s a particularly unique challenge for lawyers: they think differently. Let’s put that another way: they are pessimists– it’s what makes them successful lawyers. Unfortunately, the law is one of the only career fields that rewards pessimistic thinking: optimists do better in virtually every other career field. Read the link to learn more about this.

The job market is tough for everyone.  Don’t make it harder for yourself by making the mistakes other lawyers make when they try to move out of their fields. I met a floral arranger recently whose business card had “JD” after her name.  I asked her why she put the degree on her card.  She said, “Well I earned it– I might as well flaunt it.” She has a point, but she also confessed that she went into business for herself because employers weren’t “open-minded enough” to hire a former lawyer. And it made me wonder: was it the employers who weren’t open-minded or was she just too attached to her degree?

Here are some resources to check out about transitioning out of the law: “Running from the Law: Why Good Lawyers Are Getting Out of the Legal Profession” by Deborah Arron

“The Unhappy Lawyer” by Monica Parker

What Can You Do with a Law Degree” by Deborah Arron