Posts Tagged ‘false hope’

More Law Schools See Surge in Law School Applications

On July 6, 2010 Life’s Mockery reported that UMass Law School had a surge in law school applications: https://lifesmockery.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/in-the-news-a-new-unaccredited-law-school-has-surge-in-applications-enrollment/ Well, the madness hasn’t ceased, the operative words are more and surge, sounds like legal-industry-gluttony at this point. Today the National Law Journal reports: (False) Hope drives rise in law school applications 

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Hope drives rise in law school applications: Despite grim job statistics in nearly every corner of the legal world, law school applications increased by 7% over last year.

 The grim job statistics in nearly every corner of the legal world are surely enough to make any aspiring lawyer think twice about diving into massive debt to attend law school. [emphasis mine]. Apparently not for many, hopefully for others. Even with this frank start to the article, people are so desparate as to believe that obligating themselves into more debt will resolve their personal financial woes in this turbulent economy. Does this make sense? No.

“How much do applicants know about the contraction of jobs in the legal industry? It’s hard to say,” said Brian Tamanaha, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law who has urged law schools to provide more accurate information about graduate employment. “People could be thinking, ‘Well, in a few years things will change.’ I think we’re seeing a structural change in the industry. Even if things do come back, it won’t be to the same degree we saw just a few years ago.” My word, we bloggers have been saying this for a while, but I guess it’s considered speculation unless a professor says it. The legal industry is forever changed, there are IVY leaguers who cannot even find decent paying jobs, work is outsourced overseas, student loan debt, $40,000-$50,000 average attorney pay, do not go to law school. O.k. I’m back.

“In a climate like this one, we’re seeing applicants who are conscientious shoppers looking to get the greatest value for their dollar,” said Aaron Latham, the interim director of law advancement at Alabama, which won the NCAA Bowl Championship Series football title last year.  Apparently they’re conscious in a parallel world to take on this type of debt in this contracting field, or they would not have decided to go to law school in the first place.

The idea of law school as “the great default” is hardly new. Law school has long been more attractive than business school or medical school to college graduates with vague career ambitions, Leipold said. He attributed that in part to the versatility of a law degree, which can translate into the corporate world, public policy or any number of other fields.  Of course not, but who continues to propagate that “you can do anything with a law degree” and prestige with it’ll work itself out. I will say that at this point it’s not all the legal industry faults, sure deans, professors, lawyers who graduated in prior generations are culpable but we have unwitting lay people who have this imagery no doubt fueled by the media and the entertainment industry of law being a fast-paced glamorous life with a fast track to financial success. One can see how bad it is when the article states that most 0Ls do not know the reality of the legal industry and therefore have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

However, the idea that law school is always a solid choice should be retired in light of the growing price of a legal education and the dimming jobs prospects, several critics said. He’s saying that idea does not hold true, step into the real world and there are no jobs. Drop out of law school while you can! Do you want to subject yourself to over $100,000 debt, putting off having a family, no available jobs, depression, psycho attorneys on projects who are mentally ill or became that way because of the mental-institution like environment encouraged by staff attorneys? (that’s if you get a contractual job). Or perhaps you will enjoy having a J.D. on your resume and being practially locked out of nearly every other field as being overqualified or your degree being to specialized or not considered a true doctorate where you won’t qualify for fellowships in the future unless, you guessed it you plan to go BACK to another graduate school after law school.

“People who haven’t done any investigation into what lawyers do are foolhardy to pursue law school,” said Zearfoss, the Michigan admissions dean. “Anyone using law school as a default should rethink that.” Oh my, I may have to take some of my previous words back, believe me this law school dean just called you a fool for attending law school at this point. The image of the bully Nelson pointing at you saying “ha-ha” popped in my head. No matter how raw the honesty, he doesn’t reflect the majority of law school academia, at least so far.

“In 15 years of teaching, I’ve known a lot of students who came here because they didn’t know what they wanted to do,” Tamanaha said. “A lot of this is about cyclical irrational decision-making. It’s based on a very human trait, which is overoptimism. For the people who have always wanted to be a lawyer, they should go to law school. For anyone else, it’s not a good decision.”

O.k., so you have been called a fool and irrational for attending law school, do not let your ego allow you to make likely one of the worst decisions in your life. 

“Just because you wish for something, doesn’t make it true.”  ●Disney’s The Princess and the Frog

Is China America’s Mirror?: Newsweek: Smart, Young, and Broke: White-Collar Workers are China’s Newest Underclass

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Melinda Liu and Marjie Vlaskamp, p. 40, June 28 & July 5, 2010; online version: China’s New Underclass: White-Collar Workers – NewsweekAnd you thought it was bad here. Must we wonder why globalization may not be such a good idea? Because when a bunch of countries jump on a bandwagon, say the proliferation of higher education, there’s little to no room for recovery, and no I’m not referring to fleeing to another country, well not necessarily!

“Guo and an estimated million others like him represent and unprecedented and troublesome development in China: a fast-growing white-collar underclass. Since the ‘90s, Chinese universities have doubled their admissions, far outpacing the job market for college grads.” [emphasis mine] My word, does this sound familiar? I know these blogs are dedicated to the law school (graduate level) industry, but I am sure that American undergraduate universities have been doing the same thing. I’ve read commentators and some bloggers suggest leaving the U.S., should you be that desparate—choose wisely!

I wonder if the author’s been reading these blogs, then again just the sad, universal reality of university systems here and abroad:  This year China’s universities and tech institutes churned out roughly 6.3 million graduates.  Many grew up in impoverished rural towns and villages and attended second- or third-tier schools in provinces, trusting that studying hard would bring them better lives than their parents had.  Interesting, we see that the promise of upward mobility is not only promoted here as the American Dream, but in other countries for hope as well. I wonder how their medical and legal fields are doing?

They may be smart and energetic, but some are starting to ask if the promise of a better life was a lie. If you have to ask, then you likely know the answer.

They’re known as “ants,” for their willingness to work, their dirt-poor living conditions, and the seeming futility of their efforts.  “These ants have high ambitions but virtually no practical skills”…

The similarities between those Chinese graduates in the tech field and American law graduates is simply astonishing. It’s a potentially explosive situation. It sure is. Just imagine how many millions of unemployed, educated persons who were deluded will lose patience with the current trend. Someone commented before about potential riots and living near concentrated urban areas.

The discontent rising among the ants is even more worrying. Blue-collar wages have actually soared recently, while white-collar pay is shrinking. This resonates so deeply right now I’m confident we can superimpose attorney with computer programmer and change the geographic region and we will have a sufficient description of the American legal industry.

…the government admits that at least one in eight is permanently unemployed. And those who get jobs don’t always find work in their chosen fields. Ditto. College grads have far higher expectations than the migrant laborers who have fueled China’s growth for three decades.  “Ants are educated. They speak foreign languages. They’re Internet-savvy.  It’s that potential for trouble that has the government worried,” he says.  “If they aren’t satisfied with their living conditions and want to start a movement, like the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, it becomes a huge problem.”

This is an interesting take, the Chinese government is concerned about the educated persons becoming unruly. In a way it makes sense. People who lived in poverty most of their lives and chose not to attain higher education and debt are accustomed to a lower standard of living. Those who work hard, with aspirations of attaining a “better life” are crudely disappointed with the all-encompassing economic reality. Thus, the former, really did not have any thing to lose, while the latter has invested time, money, effort and sacrificed aspects of normal social living based on societal and other assurances that it will be compensated for upon completion. Very interesting. Though it’s not simply black and white, of course there will be poor people who are willing to cause harm and take what’s not theirs, but I think this article shed some light (at least for me) on how we compartmentalize (poor vs. middle class or wealthy, educated vs. uneducated, etc) but the variables may cross depending on the circumstances.

This guy gives some ideas on how an uprising would occur. Is it just me or do governments tend to look at suppressing uprisings, stemming tides of frustration but oft-times do not offer or work with those affected to create solutions to the circumstances that originated the frustrations?

The ants don’t seem to be organizing in any big way so far. But they clearly have the necessary technical skills and a sense of common backgrounds and objectives.  “it’s like I’ve joined an army,” says Wang Lei, a young University of Innder Mongolia graduate who has found steady work as a computer programmer after months o searching.  “For the rest of my life, I’ll meet former Tanjialing inhabitants and have strong ties with them because of our shared experience.” Comments like this make China’s leaders nervous, not least because the ant tribes are so fluid and difficult to monitor.  If they were somehow to make common cause with other restive rural-born Chinese, such as landless farmers or migrant workers, they’d be extremely hard to suppress.”

This wouldn’t happen in America, we’re too individualistic, judge people by their clothes and there’s too much racism and haves vs. have-nots. In China, although there are ethnic Chinese and others, they’re more homogenous than Americans. So, it’s not just bad here for educated folks, just look around you.