Posts Tagged ‘job market’

$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.

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National Law Journal: Accountability and Transparency: Law schools are adapting to the shifting job market

Buyer Beware

This news article Law schools are adapting to the shifting job market (01/24/2012) posted by the National Law Journal discusses the reality of  lawgraduates unemployment, the change in the legal industry and wow, accountability and transparency. The horns and sirens have sounded long enough where the ABA and US News and World Report actually have to tell the truth. The remaining issue, whether federal oversight-the Department of Education will regulate it providing substantive accountability rather than a new way for these accrediting and ranking entities to formulate a new form of ‘smoke and mirrors.’ You may enjoy this part of the article:

The ABA, NALP and U.S. News — under much criticism themselves — have been working to increase, clarify and standardize the employment information they collect from law schools. Within a few short months, the ABA’s most recent changes will be fully in place.

One of the benefits of the new standards is that “employed” graduates will be further classified within subcategories. The ABA and U.S. News no longer will consider both the grad working at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and the grad working at Starbucks as merely “employed.” Additional breakdowns will funnel them into categories that indicate how many are employed in full-time vs. part-time, professional vs. non-professional, long-term vs. short-term and school-funded positions, and in jobs for which the J.D. provides an advantage.

Lol, let’s see how they would justify tuition once and if these changes are implemented. Buyer beware.

Law Schools Are Not the Only Ones Paying Employers to Hire

Apparently this past summer the Maryland state government implemented a program called H.I.R.E. Maryland [http://dllr.state.md.us/]. Should you be one of the lucky unemployed Marylanders there is hope:

“Resources for Job Seekers
Maryland’s Hiring Incentive Rebate for Employers (index.shtml) can be used as an incentive to encourage employers to hire unemployed indivisuals.”

Should you be one of the struggling small businesses that are struggling in Maryland due to high business taxes and insurance rates and payments on your Small Business Administration Loan behold the light:

“What is the tax credit?
• The Hiring Incentive Rebate for Employers is a tax credit available to Maryland businesses that hire qualified workers for newly-created or certain vacant positions in the State.
•Employers will receive a maximum credit of $5,000, for each qualified employee, up to $250,000.

How does an employer qualify?
•Employees must be Maryland residents as well as hired between March 25, 2010 and December 31, 2010.
•At the time of hire, individuals must be receiving unemployment insurance benefits or have exhausted their benefits in the previous 12 months and not working full-time immediately preceding the date of hire.
•Positions must be full-time as well as newly-created or have been vacant for at least 6 months.

Where can I get more information?
For more information, visit the DLLRwebsite (index.shtml) or one of the 34 One Stop Career Centers (../employment/onestops.shtml).” [sic]

So employers must create a position in order to get the tax credit. Note that the credit is up to $5,000. This means that the credit can range from $1 to $5,000. I am sure that the conditions are set to ensure that most potential employers won’t receive the maximum. Also, would an employer, especially a small business think it is worth it to create a position for $5,000?
In Maryland most businesses are blue-collar, mall-type or state or local government jobs. So let’s focus on the first two types since the latter aren’t likely included. An average worker probably makes about $25,000-$40,000 a year (I’m being generous in this economy). That means that the owner has to be creative enough to generate MORE business revenue to cover the new employee’s salary in a failing economy, meaning should he/she be unable to the business would actually create an additional debt of $20,000 to $40,000. A small business that is able to generate that much more revenue wouldn’t need the incentive of $5,000.

Any average person in the DC-metro area knows that Maryland has a faltering business or job market. What I find interesting is that when I read economic stress maps or news about the DC area the author continues to make references to market/employment gains.

Maryland is over populated, overdeveloped and over-run by mob transplants ready to pillage whatever resources the state has. Years ago many medical practitioners moved out of Maryland because their medical malpractice insurance was increased to such a level they could not operate any more. Maryland does not have the foresight to attract corporations like northern Virginia does. Maryland seems to be concerned with more condos and mcmansions than how anyone can pay for it. It appears that many workers in Maryland are commuters from Philadelphia and Delaware, while many (professionals) commute to Washington, DC like northern Viriginians for employment. I doubt that this hiring incentive had any real impact for the unemployment rate overall, especially for displaced professionals.

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.”

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

An Article from the Philadelphia Inquirer: Less jobs for law graduates

Philadelphia-area law firms cutting back on summer internships | Philadelphia Inquirer | 07/07/2010 

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Philadelphia-area law firms cutting back on summer internships

By Chris Mondics

Inquirer Staff Writer

For top law school students, summer-internship programs at big, brand-name law firms have helped open the golden door to lucrative full-time employment. The failing legal industry continues to make headline news as IVY League and top tier law graduates have been unable to obtain jobs. No one cares about the tens of thousands of law graduates outside of this limited category. They’ve been dealing with this for years.

But at some firms, that door is starting to swing shut. Many prominent law firms in the Philadelphia region and around the nation report substantially smaller internship programs this summer, as firms cope with the downturn in the legal marketplace and client demands that only seasoned lawyers be assigned to their matters. Just like the federal government, the private sector is relying more on well experienced attorneys sometimes regardless of the name-brand in your portfolio. I’ll surmise that the purpose of this article is saying that since these “top” law graduates are unable to get jobs, the legal job market is pretty dismal. Somewhat of a litmus test perhaps.

What’s more, firms are shortening their programs and paying summer associates less. At least they’re getting paid, and we’ll be sure not to weep for the $10,000 lost in the pay cut. Cry me a river.

The changes range from canceled programs at the Center City firms of Morgan Lewis & Bockius L.L.P. and Ballard Spahr L.L.P. to reduced internships at Dechert L.L.P., Blank Rome L.L.P., and Reed Smith L.L.P., a Pittsburgh-based firm with a 150-lawyer office in Philadelphia.

Dechert went from 99 summer-associate positions at the height of the legal market in 2007 to 36 this year. Reed Smith, a 1,600-lawyer firm, said the number dropped from a high of 81 in 2008 to 21 this year.

“It was definitely a challenging market for our students and they did have fewer choices for this summer,” said Melissa Lennon, assistant dean in the office of career planning at Temple University Law School. “Challenging,” that’s when something is difficult but the goals is still accomplished, it’s more accurate to say nearly insurmountable.

Three years ago, when law firms were booming, the market for summer associates was far more robust. More about the elite group.

Law firms flocked to campuses to compete for top second-year students and brandished salaries as high as $2,700 a week or more.

And, summer associates typically received offers of full-time employment once they had their law degrees.

The programs themselves, with trips abroad and lavish entertaining, could seem more like summer enrichment for precocious college students than real employment.

But as a general rule, that sort of treatment is a thing of the past. Yes, we know. Just to provide some advice, when you’re attempting to lure sympathy from a reader, it’s better not to talk about how associates were spoiled and lived it up and moreso focus on how they were able to meet their basic living expenses with money to save. It is this type of journalism that feeds the non-lawyers lack of empathy when the economy is poor.

More typical is the summer program at the Wilmington office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom L.L.P., where Temple second-year Nick Mozal is spending his summer in corporate law. Mozal said there has been some entertaining, but the big event so far has been a night at a Phillies game.

He’s just grateful to have summer employment with a big-name firm.  That’s better.

“I feel very lucky, and I was very excited for it to have gone so smoothly,” said Mozal, who did his undergraduate work at Bucknell University and was raised in Exeter, a town in northeast Pennsylvania near Wilkes-Barre. “You can pick up the paper and read lots of stories about firms laying people off and [new hires] being deferred.”

Jennifer Wallace, a summer associate at Duane Morris L.L.P., a 700-lawyer firm, said recruiters had warned during interviews last year that the market for summer positions would be tough. Even so, Wallace, a second-year student at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, received multiple offers.

“The hiring partners and the people affiliated with the process were very up front in terms of what I could expect,” she said.

…James Lawlor, a Reed Smith partner who recruits and hires summer associates, said the firm has been doing less entertaining of summer associates, and when it does, it is more likely to schedule events at the firm’s Center City offices rather than at costly restaurants.

“We took away some of the bells and whistles,” Lawlor said. = unnecessary expenses which had they been spared previous years you might’ve been able to hire more associates in the future, but like the Titanic people thought the legal industry was ‘unsinkable.’

“We had a choice; there was going to be a day of reckoning where we would have two classes joining us in the same period, which struck us as undesirable,” said Geoffrey A. Kahn, a Ballard Spahr partner specializing in commercial litigation and white-collar defense who oversees hiring and recruitment at the firm.

The de-emphasis of internships in Philadelphia tracks national trends. The National Association for Law Placement, a trade association that focuses on the training and recruitment of lawyers, said that for all law firms, the median number of summer-associate positions offered this year had dropped to seven from 10 last year and 15 in 2008.

Moreover, NALP said that firms had been doing fewer on-campus interviews. And when internships are completed, they are making fewer offers of permanent jobs.

“For the class of 2011, those who went through the on-campus interview process last year, there were many fewer summer-associate positions available,” said James Leipold, NALP’s executive director….So the picture is not uniformly bleak.

No, just bleak for the majority of law graduates regardless of school and ranking the stark while irrational optimists attempt to hide the reality of the legal industry as a whole, beyond the current state of the U.S. economy.

Heather Frattone, an associate dean at Penn’s law school, said the school’s entire class of second-year students has managed to find some form of summer law employment, often going to work for the government or small firms…Interesting how they would define this, as whether paid or unpaid, temporary employment, internships, etc.

Summer programs not only give law students practical exposure to the work they will do as full-fledged lawyers, they also serve as key recruiting tools. And that is why they’ve been reduced: Law firms project they will need fewer lawyers over the next several years. [emphasis mine].  Translate, over the next SEVERAL years firms and other businesses will not hire attorneys, the legal industry continues to shrink! In other words, there will be no jobs for you! So why are you getting into debt with false hopes. Members of the industry are now telling you straight up there aren’t hardly any jobs and won’t be for the projected long-term.

But that doesn’t make the programs any less essential, said Alfred Putnam, chairman of Drinker Biddle, which has instituted a novel training program for first-year lawyers aimed at providing practical exposure before they are assigned to client matters – and before their time is billed to clients. Essential for whatever clientele and firms that are left and when convenient you will be squeezed out of a job as with any pecking order, except it will likely be sooner than later.

“I am happy we still have a summer-associate program and I am happy we are still hiring,” he said. “Unless you bring in new blood, the institution doesn’t survive.” At this point the legal industry needs a blood transfusion.

More on Law School Grade Inflation: A New York Times Article

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 Law Schools Visit Lake Wobegon – Economix Blog – NYTimes.com, June 22, 2010

I’m seeing more articles about the legal industry with some refreshingly honest one-liners: “To paraphrase the late, great  Henny Youngman: Take our graduates — please!”

That is the message blasting from the nation’s law schools, those cash cows of higher education that could once promise lucrative employment to the nation’s risk-averse young adults. Now the legal job market has turned chilly, though, and schools are trying everything from literally paying employers to hire their students to retroactively inflating their alumni’s grades. [emphasis mine]. I appreciate the raw characterization of these institutions of higher learning. But where was this integrity 15 years ago; it only surfaces when those who were in line for the next round of promised BigLaw employment are affected that more media outlets bring attention to it…or that the lid was on top of the boiling legal industry ready to spill over, but adding ingredients of false imagery, justification, cajoling and misrepresented statistics finally spilled over, a likely combination of both.

The schools making the changes range from all over the spectrum, from the tippy-top-ranked schools like Harvard and Stanford (which no longer use traditional grades) to other top-20 schools like New York University, Duke, Georgetown and Washington University in St. Louis as well as schools further down in the rankings like Tulane, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. In a sense, the economy became a great leveler of talent that was disbursed throughout the different law schools, but these recent changes in grading policies across the spectrum has led to a new characterization of IVY League and top fourteen law schools: ‘First Tier Toilets.’ Ouch.

I talked with a lot of law school deans and others involved in the “grade reform” process, and pretty much everyone argued that their school wasn’t trying to “leapfrog” anyone, just to keep an “equal playing field” with their “peer schools,” which already had higher grades. And likewise students whose schools have not yet inflated their grading systems are complaining that they are currently at a disadvantage in the job market.  Do people really think this will make a difference?

Higher grades (or no grades at all) are probably good for stressed-out students’ morale. But it is hard to say whether a stricter or a more lenient grading curve makes much difference to students’ job prospects, especially since many law firms try to keep up with what the schools are doing. (Above the Law, a legal news and gossip blog, has been publicizing such changes to schools’ grading systems, for example.)

I will now start my ramblings: Maybe in the schools’ rankings, the schools’ qualification for federal funding, the schools’ justification to continue tuition increases. However, for the law graduate it’s an odd benefit. Since a certain number of grades each semester had to be disbursed throughout the class, those who were intelligent may have been given the luck of the draw lower grade. So those who are above the curve, whether more talented or not continued to gain advantages over the former. Now, we can also theorize that the change in the grading process could give those who should’ve been above the curve the grade they deserved in the first place. With all of this convolution, it appears that the law school grading system was flawed in the first place and the likely privileged are now complaining because they were accustomed to the golden path to BigLaw. Yet, this argument against grade inflation will always exist: The flattened grading curve can make it harder for standout students to continue to, well, stand out. Grade inflation may particularly hurt top students at mediocre law schools, who want to show they can compete with job applicants from more elite institutions.

The bottom line is that the legal industry is unable to create new jobs in this failing economy. Increasing grades will not truly increase competition. The real issue is the number of new law schools that continue to become accredited and the increased number of law graduates that are continuously pumped into the market.

Wow, Grade Inflation: Article in the New York Times

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Today the New York Times posted: In Law Schools, Grades Go Up, Just Like That – NYTimes.com .Most of us already concluded that oversaturation of the legal market and lack of practical skills caused most lawyers to talk the plank into the sea of unemployment.

“In the last two years, at least 10 law schools have deliberately changed their grading systems to make them more lenient. These include law schools like New York University and Georgetown, as well as Golden Gate University and Tulane University, which just announced the change this month. Some recruiters at law firms keep track of these changes and consider them when interviewing, and some do not.”

This article focuses on grade inflation, with the implication that such practices will increase the chance for attorneys to get jobs. What the author fails to realize is that there aren’t any legal jobs to get moreso nowadays.

“Law schools seem to view higher grades as one way to rescue their students from the tough economic climate — and perhaps more to the point, to protect their own reputations and rankings. Once able to practically guarantee gainful employment to thousands of students every year, the schools are now fielding complaints from more and more unemployed graduates, frequently drowning in student debt.”

One could easily argue that students are getting grades they do not deserve, yet students who are forced into the bottom portion of the curve because of mandatory grading may benefit.

“Unlike undergraduate grading, which has drifted northward over the years because most undergraduate campuses do not strictly regulate the schoolwide distribution of As and Bs, law schools have long employed clean, crisp, bell-shaped grading curves. Many law schools even use computers to mathematically determine cutoffs between a B+ and a B, based on exam points.” I doubt somewhat the characterization the author makes of most undergraduate schools, like during this entire time the law school’s manner of operating has a clear history of legitimacy.

I do remember reading a year ago a high school or elementary schoolteacher who left primary education altogether because he was distraught that by school policy he HAD TO distribute a certain number of grades ranging from A’s to D’s for each school year. He stated there were some were good in certain areas like testing and others who were good in other areas, solving problems but not under pressure (I guess like schoolwork or homework) but I’m sure you can assume who received what grades. This teacher had a soul. Based on what I witnessed in law school, especially your first year, where you’re assigned tenured professors who have lost their minds, that many of them enjoy taking their life’s disappointments on unsuspecting students (pretty much all 1Ls). I’ve even met a Ph.D. professor who stated she enjoyed final exam and final grading because she could give whoever she didn’t like in her class whatever grade she wanted.

“All of the moves can create a vicious cycle like that seen in chief executive pay: if every school in the bottom half of the distribution raises its marks to enter the top half of the distribution, or even just to become average, the average creeps up. This puts pressure on schools to keep raising their grades further.” Wonder if it does any thing for their rankings too…”Employers say they also press law schools for rankings, or some indication of G.P.A.’s for the top echelon of the class. And if the school will not release that information — many do not — other accolades like honors and law journal participation provide clues to a student’s relative rank.” Interesting…

Anyone remember the scene from the Titanic when the ship was actually sinking and the violins kept playing either to comfort those on board or for those who wanted to enjoy themselves until the vary end? These schools are doing everything BUT closing down to keep the cycle going. These factors contribute greatly to the future generations, standard of living, mental and social health, but grading systems themselves do not appear to be regulated at all.

Next, the article reads: “Others, like Duke and the University of Texas at Austin, offer stipends for students to take unpaid public interest internships. Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law even recently began paying profit-making law firms to hire its students.” Just as many 0Ls are desparately seeking ways to attend law schools, these law schools are getting so desparate to have their prior students get some work. This is such a bad cycle. It’s like no one is dealing with reality. Cycle of law school addiction?

“But the tactic getting the most attention — and the most controversy — is the sudden, deliberate and dubiously effective grade inflation, which had begun even before the legal job market softened.”

“If somebody’s paying $150,000 for a law school degree, you don’t want to call them a loser at the end,” says Stuart Rojstaczer, a former geophysics professor at Duke who now studies grade inflation. “So you artificially call every student a success.”

But wait, IVY League law schools are doing it too:Harvard and Stanford, two of the top-ranked law schools, recently eliminated traditional grading altogether. Like Yale and the University of California, Berkeley, they now use a modified pass/fail system, reducing the pressure that law schools are notorious for. This new grading system also makes it harder for employers to distinguish the wheat from the chaff, which means more students can get a shot at a competitive interview.”

This is unfortunate because as more of the lower tier law schools opened, more students will attend for some strange reason. Older generations (I mean people who grew up in the 80’s) did not have access to law school rankings and U.S. News and the internet. Career centers or counselors steered them towards state institutions regardless of rankings. Those that could’ve made it into Top Tier then would’ve had better chances of carving a real career in the legal industry before this devastating shift of “it will never be the same” occurred. Now, those who were intelligent enough and those who weren’t but attended the same TTT law school will be forever lumped in the mediocrity with rice paper thin prestige. Those who knew some of the game and went to top tier but not that much better will be given the written stamp of approval, you may pass “Go” but still on the other side of the door are the blank faces whose stares read “Yeah, they got me too.” So welcome one and all, at this point it does not make a difference which law school you attended, only in the heads of those promoting this practice and the all too eager law graduate who continues to delude him or herself into thinking that attending law school was a wise decision.

Wondering Why Your Salary is Low?: Legal Recruiters Consider Reduced Commissions

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Hot off the presses:  Connecticut Law Tribune: Legal Recruiters Consider Reduced Commissions June 21, 2010.

The first line of the article reads: “Too many lawyers and not enough jobs.” If this isn’t a clear indication that you should not attend law school, then there are no more words.

“Some law firms are asking their recruiters to take a lower commission after the firm has hired an attorney recommended by the recruiter. Generally speaking, recruiters earn 25 percent of an attorney’s annual starting salary.” So many associates who are directly hired by firms already have taken a pay decrease compared to those associates of yesteryear. Now those who are hired through placement agencies will see a bigger decrease. The agencies who make their money from getting the attorney the job must succumb to market pressures that if their pay is decreased, imagine what the actual attorney’s decrease will be. We’re not even referring to contractual attorneys, just associates hired through agencies, so imagine even further what contractual attorneys will continue to deal with lest they find a new field of work.

“During economic shifts over the past 20 years, Seder said recruiters “have all been asked to go with the flow, and when the economy recovers, firms have gone back to paying competitive rates so they don’t miss out on the talent.” I guess you have already, some of the ‘top talent’ are contractual attorneys as well.

She added, “I think this is temporary.” Of course you do, you have the same mentality as the 0Ls who are trying to convince themselves of the same thing, and why should you not, you benefit from more law graduates which equate to more commissions in your pocket.

Typically, the request is to drop commissions from 25 to 20 percent, Seder said. But she added that companies seeking in-house counsel have not discussed such reductions.

During economic shifts over the past 20 years, Seder said recruiters “have all been asked to go with the flow, and when the economy recovers, firms have gone back to paying competitive rates so they don’t miss out on the talent.”

“The activity in Connecticut is a reflection of decisions nationwide, though recruiters say this is not a widespread phenomenon.” This has widespread implications for attorneys throughout the country.

“Part of the current challenge for recruiters is that firms simply aren’t in aggressive hiring modes. With no shortage of talented attorneys on the market, some firms see an opportunity to cut their costs with recruiters.” In other words, too many attorneys drives down the market pay and firms exploit this to their fiscal ability where attorneys are asked to do substantive work for fast-food prices.

“Also on the rise, Lord said, are instances where firms reach out to a recruiter while at the same time conducting their own in-house searches. That leads to recruiters spending time on a project only to discover that their efforts were wasted when the firm goes out and hires someone to fill a vacancy in a particular practice area.”  Hmmm and we just thought agencies were greedy. Attorneys are a commodity, the placement agency is the broker and the firm is the owner. Here’s my flow chart: Attorneys may not be needed: attorneys need money but have no job → attorney seeks assistance in finding a job through an agency → Agency is actually a broker → broker is still in business because they’re plenty of attorneys to present for sale = Attorneys have it rough.

To find the blogs, You Must Search Danielson

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The following are search terms being used to find the law school truth in advertising a/k/a scam-busting blogs:

law grad unemployment rate

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You see the authors of these blogs aren’t causing trouble, just exposing it. Providing the people what they request. Just imagine how many thousands of people are inputting these terms into search engines, trying to find an answer that will make sense of the legal industry or provide some comfort. I hope the readers didn’t mind but take a look at the geographic cross-section: Cleveland, OH, Los Angeles, CA,  Michigan, Florida–the legal industry is suffering everywhere. Wonder if 60 Minutes will interview a cross-section of law graduates (different tiers, different graduation dates) like they did the Nigerian fraud victims. Come, come from behind the embarrassment, start blogging too!

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