Posts Tagged ‘lawyers’

Just Can’t Help It: The Rejection Letters Just Keep Flowing In

These rejecteion letters are apparently mechanically generated. Most of them are emailed, yes emailed. Nowadays a potential employer doesn’t see fit to ‘waste’ a .44 stamp to reject you:
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Thank you for your interest in employment with the [Federal Agency]. You were highly qualified; however, you were not selected for this position.
Audit Code
NN
Code Definition
Not Selected – Not Contacted
Code Explanation
The selecting office has indicated that you were not selected or contacted for this position.

Thank you for your interest in Federal employment. You are encouraged to visit http://www.usajobs.gov to view additional Federal employment opportunities and information. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE. IT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY.
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EL You are eligible for this specialty and grade.
Special Messages
The information shown on this Notice supersedes all information you received in earlier Notices from this examining
office for this occupation. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL MESSAGE. IT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED.
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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 hiring officals at this time.

Thank you for your interest in employment at the [Federal Agency Headquarters]. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE. IT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY.
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The selecting office has indicated that you were not selected for the position. Thank you for your interest in [Federal Agency] employment. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE. IT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY.
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We have reviewed your application and found you qualified for the position listed above. Your name has been referred to the employing agency for consideration.

Any questions concerning interviews, physical examinations or other matters should be referred directly to the agency.
Thank you for your interest in Federal employment. You are encouraged to visit http://www.usajobs.gov to view additional Federal employment opportunities and information.

PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MESSAGE. IT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY.

In the News: Smart People Halt Going to Law School

 

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The Smarties Aren’t Rushing to Law School – The Careerist (full article) July 15, 2010

It’s madness. It’s loopy. How else to explain the spike in law school applications — a 7 percent surge, according to

The National Law Journal? Hello — didn’t anyone hear about those 22,000 legal jobs that got wiped out last year? Why is everyone and their mother trying to get into law school — any law school? So far we’ve heard the terms, irrationale, fool-heartedly, unaware and now madness and loopy. These characterizations refer to the mindset of those who continue to ping their false hopes on attending law school. At this point those who are already members of the legal industry are diagnosing you with a being deranged or a mental illness, I’ll refer to it as psychosis. This is when a person does not deal with the reality of situations or circumstances and continue to operate and behave as though the reality they’re comfortable with is the reality that’s actually there.

So who’s not rushing to law school? Ironically, some of the nation’s most sought-after college graduates are spurning law school, even highly coveted ones–at least for now. [emphasis mine]. The author asserts that those applying to law school in this economy and particular shift in the legal industry are not doing so with diligence and research. You are considered to be haphazard in making a very important decision. Now 0Ls and first year law students are being referred to as unintelligent.

A few days ago, I queried what’s harder: getting a job in a big-name law firm or a seat at a prestigious kindergarten in Manhattan? Though I’d put my money in the kiddie pool, it turns out there’s another prize that might even beat out admission to a swanky private school — and that’s a junior position at Teach for America.  

The New York Times reports that the nonprofit education group received over 46,000 applications for 4,500 spots to teach at some of the nation’s most troubled schools. (Hat tip to ABA Blog.) The article is full of anecdotes of students at highly selective colleges who got dinged by Teach for America. But what was really interesting is that many of the students in the article said that they’d rather teach than go directly to law school, including some who had gotten into places like Harvard Law School.  Earlier this year it was the U.S. Census that witnessed a unprecedented spike in temporary employment applications, with lawyers and Ph.D graduates at the helm. Teach for America is the runner-up for sought after position? This is interesting as far as law graduates who are now directing their attention to more meaningful, less paying work; though by the general public are perceived as money-grubbing-fast talkers. Let’s face it, not everyone who went to law school had greed in their hearts, though they did think that law school was the easier method for financial stability, many creative people are in business and law. These persons have sometimes found a way to escape the legal industry and focus on their creative outlet while sustaining a living. Some posts about these people may give some hope about leading your own path out of law.

But before you get all misty-eyed about the altruism of America’s youth, consider this: A stint with Teach for America is an instant resume enhancer. That it’s now become so competitive to get into the program can only add to the glow of those who have made the cut. Of course, when the market contracts, different careers either become extinct or more competitive as a shift in applicants increase. I’ve also heard that Peace Corps is now competitive. You even have to prove that you are able to pay your student loans, credit cards or other loans (either off in their entirety or meet monthly payments) while you’re in some remote area with none of the comfortable Western amenities you’ve grown accustomed to.

Corporate America can’t seem to get enough of these elite do-gooders. I can’t tell you how many times partners at major firms tell me that their favorite interviewees are Teach for America alumni. Partners talk about them in glowing terms, citing their leadership skills, work ethic, and all-around wonderfulness. From the personalities I witnessed in law in general, I disagree that this is the majority of firms or higher-ups within firms and businesses.

If you think about it, the profile of a Teach for America alum is what every big firm would want — someone who went to the right school, worked for a couple of years in a challenging environment, and then had the good sense to get back on the corporate track. They are what big-firm lawyers like to fancy themselves to be: smart and thoughtful, but practical enough to keep their billables up. So if you’re interested in doing some good in the world, make sure to the best of your ability for altruistic reasons; should you do this type of program to get your foot in the door of big business, you STILL won’t be considered because you attended a TTT/TTTT. It’s really saying, that Teach for America would be an ADDITIONAL criteria along with graduating at the top of your class at an IVY League. Ha, the door is still shut for the majority in the legal industry.

It might be too cynical to suggest that Teach for America has become a magnet for those with legal or corporate ambitions, but big law firms certainly seem smitten with the credential.  Umm, references to the legal industry should be cynical, afterall that’s what law schools trains its students to be resulting in depressed, hyper-competitive, backstabbing patrons of the legal industry, all the while having the student loan monkey on your back.

A Somewhat Honest Letter from New Jersey Bar Association President: Law Profession and Minorities

Letter From The President Of The New Jersey State Bar Association; Published: July 05, 2010

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To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

As members of the bar we represent a noble profession. Template characterization of the law field.

As we strive on behalf of our clients, we are also mindful of our obligation to improve the system of justice. This should extend to the members of the legal profession, those ‘officers of the court’ who have taken an exhorbitant amount of student loans with no system of justice looking out for their best interests as a whole.

The New Jersey State Bar Association is committed to addressing the issues that are critical to the profession and society.

Issues like the economy’s continued effects on our job market; the need to promote diversity in the legal community; the delivery of legal services, and our obligation to protect judicial independence. TTT/TTTT have no problem promoting diversity by being the primary institutions of U.S. legal education that will enroll minority students. Thus, those who had the ability to achieve and outperform are relegated to schools that have set them up for a future of disdainful looks and assumptions that the only reason they even attended law school, no matter how poor the ranking, was due to affirmative action.

Early this summer, I helped welcome over 100 new attorneys to the profession at a swearing-in event in Trenton. Each of them signed up for law school believing they would join a noble profession – a profession that would allow them to make a difference in society while earning a good living for their families. Unfortunately, the job market that greets them remains grim. [emphasis mine] Yet, the were struck by the harsh reality of the economy, closed doors, inadequate training and lack of opportunity. All the while working within the confines of this ‘noble’ profession: March 15, 2010

The Undertraining of Lawyers and Its Effects On The Advancement of Women and Minorities in the Legal Profession « Life’s Mockery

The state’s largest lawyers group is committed to assisting lawyers navigate these troubled times. We will continue to help lawyers get their practices up and running, and be a resource for those who have already hung out their own shingle. As someone who made the leap into solo practice 10 years ago, I know how the state bar can help lawyers make a transition. First, you begin by saying that the economy is bad, and that members of the legal industry have a an obligation to the law graduates and professionals. Then you encourage those minorities who aren’t afforded the opportunity to enter into decent job prospects to start their own firms with no substantial experience. They will need, escrow account, a separate interest bearing account (depends on jurisdiction) supplies, office for leasing, liability insurance, malpractice insurance, office supplies. The funds for the start up costs will likely emanate from small business loans (more debt and interest). Most businesses lose money their first year in operation. Most law students aren’t taught economics, finance or how to operate a business. Most law students aren’t graduating with practical skills to practice law and there are just too many attorneys. Since the economy remains grim, how do you expect these inexperienced lawyers to attract clientele for their small firm in which most will not be able to pay retainer or contingency fees. So, you encourage new lawyers to incur more debt, increase their professional risk in this bad economy. Most small to mid-size firms not only lose money but are often wiped out by BigLaw firms because they are unable to compete. It’s like these lawyers who do not know better or being set up for another fall with additional financial consequences.

While most lawyers have been hurt by the recession, there are signs that the diverse population in the bar has been especially hard hit. The economic crisis has reduced opportunities for minority lawyers and hampered the profession’s efforts to increase diversity. Yet, you encourage the just above mentioned approach. I know that these blogs have been sounding negative but with estimates that the job market will only worsen for the next couple of years and that the legal industry may see a slight improvement in a few years, it’s simply not a reasonable investment. They will make things worse for themselves.

This is not acceptable. Our great state – the most diverse in the nation – demands an equally diverse legal profession. In the coming months, the state bar association will convene a summit on diversity to examine the progress we have made and to chart a path forward toward the goal of a more inclusive profession. It’s about time, why don’t a national bar association do this?

An inclusive profession is powerful and meaningful in today’s increasingly global marketplace.  That’s a nice sentiment, but the reality is that it depends on who you ask.

It is true that the global marketplace has brought changes to nearly every business and profession, and the law is no different. So true, legal outsourcing to India via LPOs has changed the American legal industry. There is cause for concern about how these trends may diminish the importance of practicing lawyers – and the public’s access to quality legal services.

In order to better understand and respond, we will establish a task force on the future of the delivery of legal services, with an eye toward protecting the public and preserving our professional values.

When it comes to protecting the public, we are reminded how blessed we are in New Jersey to have one of the most respected state court systems in the nation. That is because it is an independent and impartial branch of government. We will continue to fight to preserve the sanctity of our justice system – because every judge in our courts and every resident of New Jersey deserve it. This is confusing. The letter begins by stating the need to protect the interests of attorneys who are affected by the downturn in the economy. I will have to assume that getting attorneys to open firms to represent clients somehow enhances the justice system. So the interest is moreso getting criminals legal representation while lawyers sink in a mire of debt with no one caring about their interests.

After all, this is what the bar association is about:  Examining the tough issues so you know what is at stake and offering insight about the path to take.

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.

A New Way to Discriminate: Latest Trends in Employment Ads and its Effects on Black Americans

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Yes, this is controversial and since this particular manner of advertising for vacancies is an emerging trend I won’t deny this post may not be totally accurate. Recently, another blog posted an article from CNN Money concerning those who are unemployed aren’t desired as potential candidates for a particular vacancy. Here’s the original article: Out-of-work job applicants told unemployed need not apply – Jun. 16, 2010. Yahoo decided to further expand on the issue here:

2010 Unemployment Extension Jobless Woes: Unemployed Need Not Apply – Associated Content – associatedcontent.com The first portion which seems to draw fire to the hiring practice is:

“It may seem as discriminatory as “Blacks Need Not Apply” or “Women Need Not Apply” or “Irish Need Not Apply”” — and it is, but in a more general and less inflammatory sense — but it is commonly used, blatantly printed in online and newsprint ads and classified sections. Instead of discriminating via age, gender, race, or ethnicity, businesses discriminate on whether or not you’re currently employed.” [emphasis mine] Hmm, you don’t say? First, let’s disband comparing Irish to Blacks. Although Irish had difficulty when first arriving to the U.S. years and years ago, they were eventually “Anglos-ized” into the broader “white” category as with other Americans who were descendants from other European countries. This was, is not and will never be the case for Blacks.  The other interesting part is where the author states: “more general and less inflammatory.” However, the author makes it appears that using the filter “Unemployed Need Not Apply” is better than saying outright “Blacks Need Not Apply” or rather those old Jim Crow signs “No n******, no jews, no dogs” though it has the same economic impact.  Since the highest percentage of the unemployed in the U.S. are Black Americans, with an overall unemployment rate remaining steady at 25% towering above the national average with no apparent signs of decreasing.  You’re right it is not as inflammatory, just more insidious.

Although some in the employment sector argue that these employers crafted these vacancies because of suspicion of performance issues, I think many of us in the legal industry would like to have more information. Since most attorneys work contractually (general counsel, staff attorney, direct hire, contract attorneys) and many positions are at will or short term, this line of reasoning doesn’t seem to be applicable for these types of cases.

Anyway, we all know that discrimination which has a disparate impact on a suspect class is subject to strict scrutiny. One is unable to argue that the applicant was not qualified because his or her application/resume would not even be considered for review because the applicant is already unemployed.

I am not dismissing the fact that some whites and others have been affected by the economy especially unemployment but what I am referring to are those who are the most affected are also a minority and thus a ‘suspect class’ (p.s. have you ever wondered why “suspect” was the designated term, just saying).

So, now we have the highest percentage of unemployed in America who are black, who will be unable to qualify for jobs, not because of lack of experience, job skills, or education but because they are unemployed. Between the employment practices in the current economy and the current Congressional stalemate  regarding unemployment compensation it is becoming apparent that Blacks are put in the game of “can’t win for losing.”

The practice contributes to the jobless rate that the U. S. Department of Labor places at 9.7% of the workforce (although some estimate that the number is closer to 22%). The estimate is that 15 million Americans are unemployed, most due to no fault of their own. Many have exhausted their benefits, their life’s savings, taken part-time and lesser paying jobs to help make ends meet. [emphasis mine] Yet, they are punished for actually wanting to get back on their feet, wanting to live as a decent man and woman by working and earning a quality living; yet are thrown in the perpetual cycle in which the onlookers gawk and “blame” them for taking handouts, though what they did receive in benefits does not cover most of the basic necessities…

As the jobless find their income options becoming increasingly limited, such as those hoping for Congress to pass the 2010 Unemployment Extension Bill, they also see that job openings are being filled by passive job seekers, the term recruiting companies use to label those already employed looking for a job. The jobless are being actively marginalized by the job market itself. So this country has given up on those who desire work and recycles those in one job into another, increasing the lack of skills of the former as well as unemployment gap on their resume while the already employed continue to gain more and more experience and continue to be favored while the former is unable to get the job experience in the first place because jobs won’t hire him or her for being employed in the first place. We call this a country of democratic ideals.

For the millions of unemployed attempting to find a job, the business practice of not hiring the jobless may only reinforce what they had already suspected. Not being able to find a job leads to its own special mental state of paranoia and seeming besiegement by forces beyond one’s control. Regardless, the news cannot be anything but discouraging…Many of the unemployed, who found themselves in that state due to no fault of their own, are finding that they are remaining in a jobless state through no fault of their own. It is a number that, in accordance with the “growing trend” to openly and secretly discriminate against the unemployed, may not see much of a decrease for some time. In other words, it’s not fair, it’s not likely to change as the private sector pretty much runs the country. At least we can realistically prepare–for the worse.

Another Field Looking to Exploit Desperate, New Law Graduates

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An interesting article, amidst the shrinking legal market, financial firms believe their business will increase by offering similar services to law firms: Look to law grads for recruits, June 24, 2010 

IFAs should look to law graduates as a source of new recruits, according to Sifa. Speaking on board PIMS last week, Sifa development director David Seager said there are few jobs at present for law graduates and financial services firms should look at recruiting them into the IFA profession. Wait, you want to get businesses to hire law graduates who took upon themselves $100,000+ in non-dischargeable debt to fill positions of financial advisors

He said: “There are a lot of people studying law but there are very few jobs. We always have this debate in financial services about where the new blood will come from. Firms should start looking at law graduates.” [emphasis mine] O.k., let’s clarify, yes many students study law, common law, theories, unrealistic hypotheticals which garner no practical legal skills. Unless that law graduate has an MBA or you’re willing to train them on finance, you may be making an investment in these law graduates with the same risk the law graduates made with attending law school. That one business law class will not help them “hit the ground running” at your company. 

Seager said it is estimated that 3,000 out of 8,900 law firms in England and Wales will go out of business by 2012 due to the rise of transactional legal services offerings from big companies such as Tesco. Wow, I can only imagine the number of solo practicioners and mid-size firms that the economy will devour in the United States, especially with top firms laying off staff and associates. 

He said the introduction of Tesco legal services will appeal to a number of consumers because they already have a client relationship with Tesco. He said that clients will be able to get the same transaction from Tesco for half the price offered by some law firms, so solicitors need to focus on building their client relationships to survive. I see, Tesco and other similar business firms would like to absorb the unemployed attorneys, increase their business production, increase their competition with law firms with the hopes of obliterating the legal industry. Makes sense. 

Seager said that IFAs can help solicitor firms to do this by moving away from a purely transactional business model. He said: “There is going to be huge consolidation in the legal sector and IFAs should be looking to make the most of that. I wouldn’t say consolidation, moreso an industry takeover. 

“IFAs are in a good position to partner up with solicitors and offer consultancy on how to change their business model so they retain more clients.”   Seager said that solicitors have 20 per cent client retention on average. 

People are either waiting for or trying to take advantage of the collapsing legal industry, but that’s the point—it is collapsing. Save yourself.

Batting 10,000

You the readers have reached over the 10,000 mark for number of hits. Although this blog is new, I am going to assume that there are so many people who are hearing the message or experiencing the aftermath of the law school industry. Hopefully, the message continues to spread. Say no to law school and yes to your sanity…

Law School Tuition Hikes, Economy Downturn, why are you still going?

 

On June 18, 2010, The Triangle Business Journal published: 

Even as salaries go flat, Triangle law schools continue hiking tuition – Triangle Business Journal

The authors smacks you in the face with facts in the first paragraph: “DURHAM – Despite the battering the legal industry has endured over the past couple of years – which included salary and job cuts at many firms around the country – local law students will face rising tuition costs yet again this fall.” Interesting, you failed to mentioned the number of lawyers who are UNEMPLOYED but seem to emphasize the big and mid size law firms reduced salaries. Maybe you aren’t so forthright.

The law schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, Campbell University and N.C. Central University all plan to increase tuition rates, and the total cost of earning a law degree now approaches or exceeds six figures for many students.” Riiiigghhhtt, now it approaches six figures, well most law students unless on scholarship, trust fund or help from some anonymous source are already burdened with this amount of student loans. Notice that despite the fact most law graduates aren’t finding jobs, saddled with tremendous non-dischargable debt, these law schools are still raising tuition. How can you justify it? Let’s put some theories out: 1) to deter the poorer Americans to not go to law school, based on the statistics of the current economy I think it’s reasonable to say that those will primarily be minorities. 2) these schools may have been poorly operated or lost endowments, funds in these Madoff & co. ponzi schemes like Harvard did 3) They know that there are still plenty of delusional 0Ls who think they will beat these odds and somehow by obtaining a Juris Doctor their lives will be complete, they just need to work hard to get on the other side. There is a saying: “Work harder, not smarter.” Allowing oneself to be under the tutelage of adults who are disgruntled with their lives and can have a major impact on your future life (standard of living, income, sanity) with just the stroke of the red pen versus taking heed to all of these warnings that law school is not worth the investment. With the changes in the economy, business models within the legal industry it is likely never to return to its once ‘glorious’ state.

“Students are faced with a very tough question,” says Boger, the dean of UNC-Chapel Hill’s law school. “I think there’s a whole lot of recalculation going on.”

“The old math was pretty simple: Law school was expensive, but debt incurred could be paid off in a reasonable amount of time because starting salaries at big-time law firms paid so handsomely. Then came the economic downturn, which belted law firms’ customers and, in turn, the firms themselves. That caused many big law firms to hire fewer new lawyers and pay the ones they did hire less than before.”

You see members of the legal industry who would benefit from you attending law school are even telling prospective students that you better reconsider your decision to go to law school. While others still attempt to justify the costs of such a prestigious profession:

“Bill Hoye, the university’s associate dean of admissions and student affairs, says Duke’s tuition is comparable to the top law schools in the country. He adds that law school is an investment that can pay off over a 40-plus-year career – and there is still a large earnings potential at big firms. Many of the area’s largest law firms still pay starting salaries well in excess of $100,000.”

Let’s see, the average lawyer likely not to continue practicing law after 6-10 years from what I have witnessed or is working to transition into another career. The fact that this dean “guesses” that it is possible for the ‘investment’ to pay in 40 years =nothing but a gamble to assume that the legal industry will recover from these fundamental changes that have already happened, that what you earn as a starting salary will be that of a BigLaw associate–which is reserved for the few–at least it used to be as now Harvard and Yale law graduates are unable to secure employment; even should one be able to earn a particular salary, it doesn’t last forever: mergers, layoffs, downsizing, changes in business models in the past only 10 years have devastated so many lawyers. One can only image what will happen in another 40 years!

Hoye thinks that what Duke offers students in terms of top-notch faculty and programs is worth the cost. “The quality of education is just outstanding,” says Hoye, who adds that financial aid at Duke’s law school also will rise by at least 5.5 percent this year. I’M SURE HE DOES.

“Duke projects it will have 744 full-time law students next year, while UNC will have about 800. Campbell plans to have about 450 total law students.” I’m not sure if they are referring to a new set of incoming class or whether if they include next year’s incoming class that will be their total number of students matriculating at the time. Either way it’s sad.

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.

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:

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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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