Posts Tagged ‘law school scam’

Quicklist PART II: Law School is a Bad Investment News Articles

Quicklist PART II: Law School is a Bad Investment News Articles
Too Many Law Schools and Law School: A Poor Investment:
2013 Mainstream News Articles List

These news articles are provided for quick reference as similar issues have been addressed in depth in prior posts:

07/24/2013: Tampa Bay Times, Blumner: Laying down the law school, Robyn E. Blumner
http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/laying-down-the-law-school/2132968

07/22/2013:
Bloomberg News, When Law School is No Longer a Safe Bet
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-22/when-law-is-no-longer-a-safe-bet.html

07/19/2013:
The Nashville Ledger, The Case of the Shrinking Law Schools:
Enrollment slides as sotential students argue costs v. benefits
Friday, Vol. 37, No. 29
Jeannie Naujeck
http://www.nashvilleledger.com/editorial/ArticleEmail.aspx?id=67645

04/25/2013: Foreign Policy, Should You Go to Law School?
The good, the bad, and the ugly about getting a J.D., Rosa Brooks
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/04/25/should_you_go_to_law_school

04/05/2013:  The Huffington Post, If Law School Affordability Doesn’t Improve, Enrollment Will Continue To Decline: Analysis,Tyler Kingkade
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/05/law-school-affordability-enrollment_n_3023091.html

03/21/2013: CNBC, Courtroom Drama: Too Many Lawyers, Too Few Jobs, Mark Koba
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100569350

03/14/2013
Washington Monthly, Why Law School Doesn’t Work Anymore, Daniel Luzer
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2013_03/why_law_school_doesnt_work_any043593.php

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Bloomberg’s News Article, Death of the Legal Industry and its Obituary

Law school No Longer a Safe Safe Bet
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-22/when-law-is-no-longer-a-safe-bet.html
Bloomberg News

Although the article seems to mourn associates and their high salaries which the author recognizes is only a small percentage of actual attorneys, it gives the reader a backlash if you are a law graduate. It references how white collar employees who demeaned or look down upon blue collar workers in the 1950s who chose to forego higher education. This portion is distasteful as many law graduates who graduated before the 2008 economic collapse but in the late 1990s or later had nothing to do with 1950s social stigma as they were not even born and just emphasizes what I pointed out in the last point that no one cares what happens to attorneys as society has nearly always relegated practitioners as underhanded, spoiled, backstabbers and overpaid. The author basically gives a “middle finger” to attorneys and reflects why there is lack of support of reform from the accrediting agencies to those on Capitol Hill. The article did however discussed the legal industry as dead (yet more confirmation from mainstream media) and even wrote its obituary. A portion of the news article is displayed below:
_______________________________________________________

When I was contemplating becoming an English major, lo these many years ago, one helpful counselor told me that despite the stereotypes, English majors had lots of job opportunities. Advertising, public relations, academia. “And there’s always law school!” she said chirpily.
I didn’t end up going to law school; instead, after graduating, I embarked on a peripatetic odyssey of jobs and graduate school that culminated in my becoming a journalist. But I can imagine an alternative universe in which I did go to law school. Law school has long been the backup plan for humanities majors who don’t quite dare to apply for food stamps.
That era appears to be ending. Noam Scheiber writes the obituary:
“‘Stable’ is not the way anyone would describe a legal career today. In the past decade, twelve major firms with more than 1,000 partners between them have collapsed entirely. The surviving lawyers live in fear of suffering a similar fate, driving them to ever-more humiliating lengths to edge out rivals for business. ‘They were cold-calling,’ says the lawyer whose firm once turned down no-name clients. And the competition isn’t just external. Partners routinely make pitches behind the backs of colleagues with ties to a client. They hoard work for themselves even when it requires the expertise of a fellow partner. They seize credit for business that younger colleagues bring in.
“And then there are the indignities inflicted on new lawyers, known as associates. The odds are increasingly long that a recent law-school grad will find a job. Five years ago, during a recession, American law schools produced 43,600 graduates and 75 percent had positions as lawyers within nine months. Last year, the numbers were 46,500 and 64 percent. In addition to the emotional toll unemployment exacts, it is often financially ruinous. The average law student graduates $100,000 in debt.
“Meanwhile, those lucky enough to have a job are constantly reminded of their expendability. ‘I knew people who had month-to-month leases who were making $200,000 a year,’ says an associate who joined a New York firm in 2010. They are barred from meetings and conference calls to hold down a client’s bill, even pulled off of cases entirely. They regularly face mass layoffs. Many of the tasks they performed until five or ten years ago—like reviewing hundreds of pages of documents—are outsourced to a reserve army of contract attorneys, who toil away at one-third the pay. ‘All these people kept on going into this empty office,’ recalls a former associate at a Washington firm. ‘No one introduced them. They were on the floor wearing business suits. … It was extremely creepy.’ Still, any associate tempted to resent these scabs should consider the following: Legal software is rapidly replacing them, too.”

Another Law Graduate Shares Her Woes of Unemployment and Poverty

(Over)Educated, Black, Broke, and Jobless in NYC

“Share my day to day struggle of trying to find gainful employment in New York City after earning three degrees. Will I make it or will I end up homeless? Only time will tell, and there is not much left. . .”

http://diariesofanunemployed.tumblr.com/

You cannot make this stuff up! I don’t recall how I stumbled across this page. It appears to be similar to a blog but the posts are shorter.

From the title and caption summary it appears this person has a PhD–wrong a law school graduate.

If you scroll down to the post entitled “Bitter” you will realize it is yet another unemployed law graduate struggling to provide for her basic needs. Another one bites the dust. You who still want to attend law school, should perish the thought. Or let homelessness, malnutrition and depression and unemployment be your demise. Your choice.

Georgetown Law Graduate Discusses Law School: Is it Worth It?

Freedom from the Sunk Cost Fallacy: Say No to Law School
http://drewfrederick.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/freedom-from-the-sunk-cost-fallacy-say-no-to-law-school/
July 2013

During my fourth semester of law school, having already put in two years’ patent law work at a prestigious law firm, I realized that I didn’t want to be a lawyer.  All my friends told me to stick it out and finish the final year since I’d already invested two years of my life, and a lot of money, into law school.

Then I discovered the sunk cost fallacy: the mistake of incorporating past losses into current decisions.  For example, consider two men who have concert tickets to a favorite band playing at an outdoor venue; the first man received his free as a promotion while the second man paid $50.  On the evening of the concert, the weather is terrible and neither man wants to go.  The first man rationalizes that his ticket was free anyway, so doesn’t go, while the second forces himself to go, lest he lose $50.

But, of course, the ideal rational decision should be the same.  In both cases, at the time of decision, the men simply possess tickets to a show.  Assuming their preferences are the same, it is irrelevant how they came by those tickets – therefore, neither should go.  The second man has been duped by the sunk cost fallacy, believing that the cost already sunk in his ticket is relevant to a later decision.  It isn’t.

In deciding whether to finish my final year of law school, the only relevant question was whether it was worth the additional year and expense to receive my law degree; it was irrelevant whether I’d already spent two days, two years, or two decades pursuing the degree.  I finally decided that it was, considering that a law degree can be used to open a wide variety of doors (not just doors to law firms), but if I’d been in the same position after only my first year, with another two more years to go, my decision would have been to walk – nay, run.

Now that graduate degrees are what undergraduate degrees were twenty years ago, Generation Y seems to feel professionally incomplete without a master’s degree, law degree, or MBA.  U.S. law schools are graduating more future lawyers than ever before, and it’s a booming business for University, Inc.  Unfortunately, job opportunities and income are simply not keeping pace with the supply of graduate degrees, and Millennials now complain of debt, particularly student debt, as their “biggest financial concern.”  So it’s worth asking the question: Is law school worth it?  Let’s look.

Tuition.  At Georgetown University Law Center, my alma mater, annual tuition for 2012-13 was $48,835.00.  Just tuition.  To give you an idea of how much that is, here is a picture of several stacks of $100 bills, totaling $40,000.  Stare at this picture for a moment.  Then repeat to yourself: All this money is NOT ENOUGH for a SINGLE SEMESTER of law school tuition.
Living expenses.  Depends on where you go to law school, of course, but D.C. is not a cheap place to live.  My poorest law school friends squeaked by on another $20,000 a year, but most people racked up $30,000+ a year in rent, utilities, insurance, transportation, books, fees, and entertainment.
Opportunity cost.  Few Americans have enough savings for six months’ worth of unemployment; can you imagine three years of unemployment?  Some students were lucky enough to get summer associate positions at law firms but they were few and far between.  Most students settled for a modestly paid or even unpaid summer internship.  To calculate opportunity cost, figure out how much you could have made in the same period and subtract what you actually did make.  For most law students, the opportunity cost is well over $30,000 a year.
Interest.  Money ain’t cheap.  Most students will pay interest on their entire law school debts for many years after graduation.
Let’s assume a net expense of $70,000 per year for three years, plus an annual opportunity cost of $30,000, and amortize that over ten years at 6% per year.  That comes to a monthly cost of $3,330, or about $40,000 per year – for the next ten years.  But remember: that $40K premium is paid with after-tax dollars.  (Yes, there is a student loan interest deduction, but it’s limited to $2500, a tiny fraction of the interest paid, and it doesn’t apply to single people whose adjusted gross income is over $75,000.)  At a 30% marginal tax rate, representing federal and state income taxes, this $40K premium actually represents $57,000 of one’s nominal income.

In other words, if you go to law school under the above assumptions, then you’ll be paying $57,000 a year for the next decade just to break even, so your new job as a lawyer better account for that.  But what happens if you discover you don’t like practicing law?  Or what if your law degree doesn’t add $57K to your salary?  The major D.C. law firms, for example, are starting new lawyers at between $100K and $140K, but these positions are highly competitive and a relatively small proportion of law school graduates, even from the highest ranked schools, can get these coveted positions.

According to Above the Law, the median starting salary for law firms in 2012 was just $85K, and for those not lucky enough to land a law firm job, the median starting salary was only $60K.  Then again, over 15% of 2011 graduates had a median starting salary of $0, since they couldn’t find a job at all.

So let’s say you give up your $50K/year job to go to law school and get an $85K/year law firm job.  Not only will your real income shrink by $22,000 a year ($57,000 in annual debt payments makes a big dent in your increased salary) but you’ll actually be working significantly longer hours just to make that higher salary.  That’s right.  To succeed in one of those high-paying law firms, expect to bill 45+ hours a week, which means actually being present for 60-70 hours a week to deal with meetings, non-billables, and other administrative and corporate bullshit.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  And, of course, you can’t leave – you’ve already incurred the law school debt and need the job to pay it off.

Conclusion?

Option A: Quit your job, go to law school, incur enormous amounts of debt, compete for the coveted law firm position that will pay you, after your student loan payments, less than you made before, where you will work 50% to 75% more hours, and that you cannot leave for ten or more years because of your law school debt.
Option B: Be happy with your current job and avoid law school like the plague.

Quicklist: Law School is a Bad Investment News Articles

Law School: A Poor Investment:
2013 Mainstream News Articles List

These news articles are provided for quick reference as some have already been addressed in depth in prior posts:

04/19/2013, Volume 23, Issue 15
Is a legal education worth its costs?
http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2013041900&PHPSESSID=p8dg0htm1e5n9ljtk3qj6u4s81#.Ud13_v15mc

03/19/2013: U.S. News & World Reports, ‘Make an Informed Decision When Considering Law School –Law prof Paul Campos advises a critical look at job statistics before students pursue J.D. degrees.’ Michael Morella 
http://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/articles/2013/03/19/make-an-informed-decision-when-considering-law-school

TIME Magazine 03/11/2013: Just How Bad Off Are Law School Graduates?
http://ideas.time.com/2013/03/11/just-how-bad-off-are-law-school-graduates/

Huffington Post
Legal Education Crisis: Schools Need to Cut the Fluff http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-nuckols/legal-education-crisis-sc_b_2863170.html
Mark Nuckols 03/12/2013

Huffington Post
Why You Should Not Go to Law School
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tucker-max/law-school_b_2713943.html Tucker Max, 02/18/2013

02/15/2013: Hard lessons from record-low law school applications, Vera H-C Chan.
http://news.yahoo.com/hard-lessons-from-record-low-law-school-applications-200701891.html
02/10/2013:
One Law School Dean Tells Us The Real Reason No One Wants a JD Anymore
http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-sheppard-paul-campos-brian-tamanaha-law-school-bubble-2013-2

01/30/2013: The New York Times, Law Schools’ Applications Fall as Costs Rise and Jobs Are Cut, Ethan Bronner. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/education/law-schools-applications-fall-as-costs-rise-and-jobs-are-cut.html

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

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

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

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

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

“American law schools in crisis” Title of a Recent News Article

Yes, the mainstream media continues to take the baton in this law school-scam-busting relay. Likely the primary reason for these news outlets to focus on law schools because graduate level students take more debt than undergraduates (usually) and the student loan bubble has been stewing in a pot of Congress’ let’s turn away and not deal with it kitchen until it’s too late.  I laughed when I saw the first paragraph thinking “we told you so.” It’s like applying pharmacy ointment on a 4th degree burn. The article was written by a former dean at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Interesting, maybe he’s trying to mitigate potential lawsuits against him, other deans and law schools, though I found another article about this guy planning to resign months ago because he disagreed with how the LAW SCHOOL WAS SPENDING MONEY (Closius resigns as UB Law dean, Maryland Daily Record, 07/2011).

Anyway, here’s an excerpt of “American Law Schools in Crisis”:

The Golden Age of American legal education is dead.

Every law dean knows it, but only some of them will feel it. Elite schools (the top 25 in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings) and the 43 non-elite state “flagship” law schools are almost immune to market pressures. Those at risk will come from the other 132 law schools — the ones that produce the majority of law graduates…

Jobs and tuition, then, become an issue of quality admits. The fall 2010 entering class actually increased to a new high of 49,700, even as the job market was falling. Schools must now choose between admitting smaller entering classes (and sacrificing revenue) or dealing with a decline in the quality of their students — or both.

You hear that 0L? Stop the delusion, the madness, and unfortunately for people of color who thought going to law school was the one lift they needed for upward mobility it has not been this way for 20 years. I suggest engineering, chemistry/scientist. I would say medical doctor but that industry is corrupt in and of itself. For those of you who attended law school and continued to do so after seeing these blogs, the only thing I can suggest is despite the “competition” naturally inherit in American adulthood, do something for your fellow man/woman. Warn them about the perils of attending law school. The full article can be found at the Baltimore Sun website here: American law schools in crisis 06/04/2012

$10,000 First Year Associate Salary-Boston

No,this is not a joke. The article begins with:

Say No to Law School
Protect Your Sanity and Your
Financial Future

By now, most people know a law degree hardly guarantees law school graduates will snag a good job, let alone a high-paying BigLaw position.

But it may be even tougher than you think to get a high-paying legal job just out of law school. Hiring law firms, if you thought you were low-balling new grads, think again. (Boston Business Journal 06/01/2012): Legal job market hits new low: BC Law lists job below minimum wage 

Yahoo’s version: (06/01/2012)  Attention Lawyers: Get Your … $10,000 a Year Salary: 

The beginning of the article states: Attention college students applying to law school: put down the LSAT prep book. You might want to consider another line of work.

How can this be legal, it reminds me of how waitresses are paid poorly on an hourly basis then make most of their money on commission, maybe this is the same scheme. For shame, BELOW MINIMUM WAGE. Sallie Mae, SLM, Access, Nelnet does not care: All they say is _________ , you better have my money with a financial, back-handed slap known as late charges, additional finance charges, interests and other ‘costs.’

This has been going on for decades. Mainstream media is just late to the party; I would dare say ‘fashionably late.’ The kind of oh I was going to get there, so when I (mainstream media) arrive I appear to expose this dying legal market.

Law Professor and Former Dean Writes Book Exposing the Law School Scam

This article The Bad News Law Schools – NYTimes.com (2/20/2012) describes what a former law school dean but still law professor has to say regarding law schools failings and the American Bar Association’s complicity in the legal industry crisis:

In fact, that news was itself not so new. Uneasiness about the state of legal education has been around for some time, but in the wake of the financial meltdown of 2008, uneasiness ripened into a conviction that something was terribly wrong as law school applications declined, thousands of lawyers lost their jobs, employers complained that law school graduates had not been trained to practice law, and law school graduates complained that they had been led into debt by false promises of employment and high salaries. And while all this was happening, law schools continued to raise tuition, take in more and more students, and construct elaborate new facilities.

Well, I think this sums it up.

A Dream Deferred: Student loans, Debt and Law Graduates

According to this article; Leaving College with a Degree and Thousands in Debt (02/17/2012) This is you trade off-a parchment declaring you’ve jumped through all of the sanctioned hoops to demonstrate you’re smart; an invoice showing that you have mortgaged your future

Debt: It's not going anywhere

OR work hard until blue collar companies, downsize, put you in miserable conditions with room for advancement for just a few and leave yourself uncultured, stuck but with a higher probability that you can purchase a home, start a family. I know for a while bloggers promote blue-collar jobs  are better than higher education but for people of color, even working jobs that require only a high school diploma you face blatant discrimination and the likelihood of being targeted for termination (Check out EEOC adjudicated complaints filed by Hipanics, Bi-racial persons and Blacks on www.eeoc.gov). Anyway, here’s an excerpt from the article:

Until they get rid of the debt, “it is inconceivable that they’ll ever be able to buy a home,” said Steven M. Dunne, a Philadelphia consumer-bankruptcy lawyer who last year paid $36,000 to chip away at his student loans, $5,000 of that interest.

“When I graduated from law school, I knew I couldn’t make the payments with one job,” said Dunne, “so I’ve had two for the last three years.

The life of a normal adult, purchasing a home, earning a decent wage to cover basic expenses and to have a family of your own becomes a distant dream. Sallie Mae’s a’knocking.

“The impact is that I can’t afford to buy a house or a car,” he said. Essentially, “I have two mortgages to pay every month, but I don’t have any real estate to show for it.”

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