Posts Tagged ‘higher education’

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.

Behind the curtain of student loans (Law graduate gets a student loan discharge but…)

Behind the curtain of student loans – Generation J.D. (06/14/2012, Maryland Daily Record)

I will sum up this article. You either have to be a parapalegic, suffer under a severely disabling disease or die for a bank/Sallie Mae to CONSIDER fully discharging your student loans.  I’m not sure why the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Trade Commission (Truth in Lending Act) and other federal departments/agencies take a stand. Oh…Sallie Mae has the money for the lobbyists. That’s how they were able to get Congress to change the bankruptcy laws so discharging student loans is nearly impossible. Welcome to financial indentured servitude. The text of the article is below:

Behind the curtain of student loans By: Dorothy Hae Eun Min Last month, a former law student won a bid in bankruptcy court to discharge nearly $340,000 in education debt because her diagnosis of Asperger syndrome rendered her unable to repay the loans. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland found that Carol Todd, who attended (the University of Baltimore School of Law, met the difficult burden of showing that she would suffer undue hardship if forced to repay her debt. (emphasis mine) Todd received her high school GED during the late ’80s, at age 39. She received an associate degree at Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University) and a bachelor’s degree at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland (now Notre Dame of Maryland University). She began attending law school in 1992 but did not complete the program. She went on to obtain a master’s degree from Towson University and a Ph.D. from an unaccredited online school in 2007. She filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009. Todd pursued success in education “as a stepping stone toward a measure of liberation…to help her achieve something closer to a normal life.” Carol’s case is a rarity. The difficulty of proving undue hardship —the majority of claims are unsuccessful — and of discharging student loans has prompted the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys to call on Congress earlier this year to pass legislation that would allow graduates to discharge loans taken out from private lenders, including for-profit companies such as banks and student loan behemoth Sallie Mae. Similar legislation has been submitted over the past two years by Congressional Democrats without making much progress, but NACBA holds hope that this will change soon. While Todd’s story raises questions about undue hardships to borrowers due to a permanent mental disability, what does this mean for any changes to legislation when it comes to a borrower who suffers a permanent physical disability that ultimately prevents him or her from holding down a stable job to pay off student loans? Will Carol’s court decision cause lenders to increase scrutiny on prospective students with disabilities? What if the borrower is the victim of a tragic accident that leaves him in a coma? What happens when the borrower dies, but has a parent co-sign the loan? That’s Christopher Bryski’s story. Bryski was a college student at Rutgers University when he suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2004 in a fluke accident. He was in a coma for two years before passing away in 2006. To facilitate taking out private student loans for college, his father co-signed on the loans for him. Because his father co-signed on Christopher’s student loan from Key Bank, he was obligated to continue to make payments under the terms of the private loan agreement. He paid more than $20,000 of the $50,000 debt, which forced him to come out of retirement to make the monthly payments. Key Bank finally forgave the loan this past April, but not before the Bryski family struggled for six years after Christopher’s death to make payments and started a Change.org petition to seek help from the public to fight against the bank. What are your thoughts on these issues? In a volatile economy, many individuals seek further education to improve their prospective job opportunities. Should student loan companies provide more transparency to borrowers with regard to accidents and disabilities that could cause them to have trouble making payments?

The court in the first story may have granted the discharge with additional consideration that with all these degrees, one unaccredited and another (law degree) from a TTTT law school, there was no way she would be hired to pay off the debt. Interesting.

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.)

Center for American Progress Report Entitled: What Can We Learn From Law School?

All Rights Reserved

For those considering law school, this is a good read, a summary report entitled: What Can We Learn From Law School (click title for pdf) December 2011 by the Center for American Progress. I highlighted some quotes:“This report explores the field of legal education with the hope that putting a magnifying glass to this small part of higher education will help us better understand the problems that face all colleges. (see sidebar) It details the steady rise in law school enrollment, despite high tuition rates and a heavy reliance on student loan debt. And it describes the unpleasant surprise that awaits law students upon graduation: Though a few lucky grads will make more than $130,000 per year, most new lawyers can expect annual salaries of around $63,000. With monthly loan payments near $1,000, graduates are finding that membership in the legal profession is not the golden ticket they thought it would be.”

 p. 7: The high demand for legal education is somewhat surprising given its hefty price tag.  It’s difficult to locate the cause of this steep rise in tuition. Though some have claimed that stringent accreditation requirements drive price, a 2009 GAO study showed that this assumption is incorrect.

So not only student enrollment screening has become more lax, so has ABA accreditation.

p. 9 On the whole, this low default rate does not seem like a big deal. But for the individuals who fall into the default category, it can have devastating effects. Federal student loans are not dischargeable through bankruptcy.

That University of Maryland student that filed for bankruptcy should have had access to this report before going to federal court.

p.13: Though the return on investment in law school has been in question for young graduates since at least 2008 and possibly even earlier, this news was not widely reported until recently. This may be due, in part, to the fact that statistics about the legal profession as a whole mask the circumstances that young lawyers face. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the legal profession show that the growth in law jobs slowed over the past several years. In other words, law schools are able to admit large classes, maintain the same educational model, and continue to push tuition higher because students still turn out in droves for a chance to be in their entering classes.

Basically, as long as the 0L public continues to buy into it, the law schools will continue to rope you in. You have the power to stop this madness, stop buying into the law school degree can open so many doors and you can do anything with a JD. It is obviously not true. These people are laughing in your faces at this point. You are now willingly and openly proceeding towards a known danger.

To ensure students, colleges, and policymakers react to the forces that are changing the value of college degrees, the following policy changes should be implemented:

• The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, should collect and publish average employment and salary data for recent entrants into an occupation. Would provide 0Ls reality of the legal market and what they’re getting into.

• The BLS should work in conjunction with the Department of Education to make this information available to prospective students. So 0Ls/general public are not duped by misleading and in some cases blatantly false statistics provided directly on the law schools’ websites who have obvious financial interest to skew data and currently no repurcussions to ensure accurate information.

• Accreditors in all sectors of higher education should create standard definitions for employment and salary statistics, and require member schools to make such information readily available to students. Accreditors should audit member schools’ adherence with these standards from time to time. Audit, compliance then the federal government can fine them, and they would lose money they hold so dear.

 The beginning of the report appeared to be slanted by providing the reader with the impression that although the legal industry is shrinking/worsening and the value of the JD degree is decreasing the legal education sector only accounts for a small amount of those enrolled in graduate degree programs. However, this report doesn’t provide any statistics to support that.  It is a good read for general summary which hints to the reader that law school, especially at this point of America’s development and economy is not a good investment, no matter how you play with the numbers.

Breaking News (02/03/2012): Law grads go to Court for Bankruptcy Protection

See MSNBC article posted today: Law Grads Go to Court for Bankruptcy Protection. You can tell she was a recent graduate most people

All Rights Reserved

know that Sallie Mae lobbied Congress in the 1990s to stop allowing student loans from being discharged in bankruptcy. They have the whole legal industry–in their hands…♫ Because Sallie Mae would suffer undue hardship if student loans were discharged. It’s a tax write-off, they won’t lose anything. An indebted, unemployed, graduate, well you being unable to feed yourself, just does not fit within the purview of being important to the federal courts or financial institution. Good day…

My favorite line: “If you did not go to a top 40 law school and finished in the top 25 percent of your class, you’re not going to get one of those jobs,” said Jordan Abshire, principal of attorney recruiting agency Lateral Link. Abshire said that since 2008, he has seen more attorneys with a few years of experience filing for bankruptcy, often carrying a new home mortgage on top of their student loans.

Despite what CNN says the economy is not getting better, especially for law graduates. Another warning to the would be 0L, basically for you to earn enough money to live decently AND be able to pay back your student loans you have to go to a top school. I’m not sure why they said top 40, it’s really Top 10 and even those people are doing contract work. Further buried in the article:

The debt load on students is made worse by the shrinking legal job market. Since January 1, 2008, major law firms have laid off about 5,900 attorneys, according to the Lay-Off tracker at lawshucks.com, a blog that tracks law firm hiring. That is about 5 percent of all attorneys at the 250 largest law firms, according to the National Jaw Journal. (The U.S. Department of Labor does not collect job data on attorneys specifically.)

The truth shall set you free, if you are an 0L it will prevent you from economic slavery.

For Those Considering Law School

Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

It has been a while since I posted, I’ve been busy trying to survive amidst the steadily decreasing opportunities for lawyers and the mocking economy. Nevertheless, there are still some who are sounding the “don’t go to law school” horn, including those who have much to gain by increased student enrollment.

A couple of years ago, a self-described ‘unconventional’ IVY League Journal-Harvard Unbound published a comment written by an assistant professor of a law school entitled: For Those Considering Law School (2010)

The author reiterates starry-eyed 0Ls who desire to make a difference and explains alot of jobs that would help people in the legal industry does not require a law degree and you’ll make about what a secretary makes $35,000-$45,000. The only difference, you’ll be saddled with immeasurable debt and a lifelong grudgery of how to pay it off. My note, how does one maintain the desire to help others when one is unable to feed or shelter oneself.

For people of color, it is noted even in media that when the economy isn’t “bad,” how it is usually worse for minorities. So, when whites with the same degree you have and sometimes IVY League are unable to find a job, what chance do you have to find meaningful employment, where your talents and mind are respected in mainstream companies. Before the recession, minorities discussed how they are sometimes discriminated against. Just imagine now, with debt hovering over you and certain institutionalized systems in place that will also discriminate against you in housing….

Anyway, my favorite point in the dean’s comment: “There is no point in investing three years of your life into a school experience and then having a job you hate, so consider this strongly before going.”

CONCLUSION: Don’t think twice before going to law school. Just don’t go.

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.”

USNWR: As Law School Tuitions Climb, So Does Demand

The Price Is Right: All Rights Reserved

On June 22, 2010, Life’s Mockery published a post concernining law school tuition increase:Law School Tuition Hikes, Economy Downturn, why are you still going? « Life’s Mockery.  U.S. News and World Reports have finally taken the time to discuss it, only to present it as only beneficial to the legal industry:  July 14, 2010-As Law School Tuitions Climb, So Does Demand – US News and World Report. The title alone suggests that because so many law students continue to apply, the law schools just have to increase tuition. 0Ls are causing the tuition to climb, not the agents of profit making and student debt–well that just clears it up. Some law schools have opened more seats and increased tuition. I will not fathom how this increases value, it only diminishes it. Overflooding a saturated legal market drives down salaries and demand. Increasing debts of individuals, though they made their own decisions to incur it, decreases an individual’s ‘net worth’ making it even more difficult to obtain credit, equity lines, mortgages (I know more debt) to purchase property as well as overall affecting one’s credit score to rent. This is inclusive of all forms of shelter, a basic necessity. This only increases the perceived value of debt and not the actual law degree itself. The law degree is just the agent by which the debt exists, increasing tuition does not correlate with increasing the value of the law degree.

Tuition has risen for the 2010-2011 school year at law schools across the country, even as industry jobs disappear by the month. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows 3,900 jobs were cut from the legal sector in June alone, capping off a year of 22,200 job losses. I continue to try to make sense of this behavior. Even when some of these news article have smatterings of truth about the current state of affairs for the legal industry, 0Ls have been desparately convinced of going to law school. I think part of it is that one doesn’t comprehend the psychological and financial toll unless you’ve undergone it. It’s like when your mom told you not to touch the stove or you’ll get burnt. You see steam, fire or smoke and out of an insatiable curiosity you just have to try to touch it. This is understandable when you’re a child, but as we age, I would think that this old saying would emerge: to learn from the mistakes of others and profit from my own. Not to learn by making the exact same mistakes that droves of people continued to warn me of.

Throughout the article you’ll see the author insert suggestions on how to take the LSATS and which are the best law schools despite already admitting that the industry has shriveled.

Henderson noted that in this economic climate, even a degree from a top school does not guarantee a legal job. But California-based law school admissions consultant Ann Levine says that dimming job prospects and increasingly high tuition have yet to deter her nationwide client pool from seeking elite placements. 

“I had thought people would be more concerned about scholarships and willing to let go of ranking a little bit; I was wrong,” says Levine. “Still, people want to generally go to the best law school they can get into, regardless of costs.” At this point it seems like I’m a mocking bird, it is but so many times one can repeat the same issues: 1) law school is a default for those who don’t know what to do with themselves 2) law school has a false image of fast-track to big salary and prestige 3) false image that you can do anything with a law degree. In a prior post Life’s Mockery quoted members of the law school administration/academia referring to 0Ls as irrational and foolish for applying and attending law school at this point in the legal industry and economy. Here, this agent of a California law school EXPECTED for an increase of people to dive right into the 4th Tier pool with no water and not even think about rankings. Let’s face it, most law students, regardless of tier will not have a scholarship or fellowship to attend law school because they simply do not exist for most attendees in this profession.  How about that, not ony did she literally  bank on 0Ls to continue to apply to law schools but that you’ll be desparate enough (now that more knowledge and technology is out there) that you would ignore the perils of attending a 3rd or 4th tier law school, because their financial aid officer dangled some money in front of you. However, let’s be realistic on many schools offer scholarships, how many scholarships are offered and how many law students actual keep their scholarships after the first semester. Those would be some interesting statistics, in the end the potential law student will likely compromise his or her financial future and be miserable. In other words, she expected more 0Ls to be stupid in their decision on not only attending law school but to direct themselves right to the basement level.. However, should you know for sure that you’ll get full tuition and be able to keep it for the entire 3 years and not need money for food, gas and your other current bills, maybe you can. Nothing’s guaranteed, oft-times it’s just an enticement.

One of Levine’s clients, Oriana Pietrangelo, turned down several full rides for a partial scholarship this fall to Notre Dame Law School, a top tier school whose “name goes fairly far,” she says. 

“It would have been nice to not have any debt,” Pietrangelo says. “But I feel like I’m more likely to have a better job and higher paying salary going to Notre Dame as opposed to somewhere else.” But Pietrangelo is not yet devoted to Notre Dame Law School. She is on the waitlist at Northwestern University School of Law and, if accepted, she plans to attend and pay full tuition, she says, because it is ranked higher than Notre Dame. Wow, this person thinks going a few schools higher in rank and getting themselves into full law school debt will help their potential career. Slightly understandable, but the rationale is clearly flawed as Harvard and Yale law graduates are unable to find attorney positions in this economy.

While “everyone talks about the cost of tuition,” Levine says, “it’s actually not going to impact demand greatly because I think people see it as somewhat inevitable and beyond their control.”  As long as you allow them to charge you these exhorbitant tuition rates, they will continue to do so, because they know so many 0Ls are in love with the ‘prestige’ of the legal profession. She acknowledges that the legal industry will continue to do as it pleases and the 0Ls are enablers. There’s just an abundance of information on the web that there’s less of an excuse to put yourself through this than what many of us knew years ago.

Fiscally tough times especially hurt public law schools. Funding for higher education has been slashed in at least 41 financially strapped states, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonprofit research organization. Higher education funding in Texas, for example, was reduced by $73 million, and public universities in Indiana saw a $150 million decrease this year.  No worries, Sallie Mae will help the schools out, since no one from an average financial background can reasonably afford the rates, student loans are inevitable. Attending law school isn’t though, you still have a chance 0L to make a wise decision earlier in your life.

“Certainly for the professions that tend to have a significant financial reward on the back end, we believe that students can pay a higher rate—whatever the market will allow for professional and graduate school,” Calderón said. “Then, if they have debt, they can retire that.” The problem is that for most law graduates there is not a significant financial reward, many are saddled with insurmountable debt. The market is not some extraneous variable. In a way it is supply and demand, but no one other than scam bloggers are truly addressing what is fueling the demand: misinformation from employment statistics to characterization of the legal industry.

Employment statistics are not taken into serious consideration, Calderón adds, because his board is not supplied with raw data.

“Perhaps we should,” he says. “But the question is, where do we get it and can we trust who’s giving it to us?” Maybe you can hire Fluster Cucked – RSS or Nando at THIRD TIER REALITY – Atom, I’m sure they’d be happy to assist.

Escalating tuition prices in a troubled market, spurred onward by generous student loans and students who are not fully committed to the profession, is a dangerous bubble that may well burst, Indiana University—Bloomington’s Henderson says.

“I’m trying to separate the value of the legal education from the signaling value that’s driving the bubble,” Henderson said. “The trends are clearly unsustainable.” You hear that, we are on the verge of Doomsday for the legal industry and 0Ls who continue to attend law school are just pumping that helium into the bubble until it bursts. You WILL NOT be able to say no one warned you, because many did, but your ego overcame you and it will be your worst enemy.

A Short Conversation at a Cafe on Legal Education: International Style

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O.k., first, why in this metro area you will hear conversations about lawyers or law school (I know it’s concentrated with law schools but must we talk about it?) Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was in line at a Chipotle and heard one woman speaking to another about presumable a mutual friend. Mind you they looked like they were 45+ years and I heard “she’s an executive” of something and some company oh and she’s a lawyer too, but she doesn’t practice. Oh, I’m shocked.

Today, I found a quaint cafe and decided to satisfy my sweet tooth. The cashier happened to be from Korea and since it was slow business (I was the only one in there) I decided to talk about the economy briefly when asked oh so what’s your field? The cashier was still in college but was explaining the difference between going to law school in Korea versus America. First, she said, their undergraduate degree is the law degree, I initially misunderstood and stated “pre-law” and then I figured it was a system similar to the solicitor-barrister track after LLB in England. They have to apprentice and practice in order to qualify for the exam from what I understood. The cashier stated that after that level degree they take a test then choose to be a judge or lawyer. That’s it. The cashier stated that here it’s all about getting a license, that the cashier’s friends who have licenses that’s all it is because they don’t have jobs and they don’t practice law. Nail on the head.

Reading the cashier’s face, there was a look of frustration regarding the U.S. system, like you have to go to higher education for seven years, take the bar, clerk or work a certain number of years then these tiers of associate, senior associate, qualifiers for masters, judges, administrative judges, etc. The cashier changed majors after learning about the U.S. system and it didn’t take a blog to do it.

p.s.: I did ask about student loans and the cashier stated they have it but not like in the U.S. and they don’t have to pay for everything in their higher education, in some ways you don’t here due to scholarships and grants, but you will always pay when it comes to law school.

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