Posts Tagged ‘money’

Attorneys and Law Students Commit Suicide All Over the World

These are stories of law students and attorneys whose delusion with practicing law, obtaining a job and being able to provide for basic needs such as food is compromised, or dealt with depression and saw no other way out but suicide. From North Africa to India to to Europe Michigan, USA. This post does not endorse suicide but to provide a glimpse into other side of the legal industry and a warning to 0Ls who are convinced it will not be them. Statistics have shown that attorneys are two to six times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.  The rhetoric is fading and reality is settling in and most people are unable to deal with their false-fed dreams….

Here’s a sampling of lawyer/law student suicides from around the world. These are just the ones who made the news (protest, prestigious law firm, or top school involved).

Autopsy and 911 call reveal Fargo lawyer shot himself at I-29 rest stop (02/10/2012) HILLSBORO, N.D. – An autopsy has confirmed that Fargo attorney Steven M. Light, whose body was found Wednesday evening inside a rest stop near Hillsboro, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Traill County Sheriff’s Department said.

 “But with that, there’s so much stress and so much pressure, and that can eat you alive and make you depressed,” Richie said.

Law Students Commit Suicide (02/07/2012) Rohtak (Haryana), Feb 7 (PTI) A law student allegedly committed suicide by jumping before a moving train here, police said.Babli (22), who was pursuing LLB from Maharshi Dayanand University, ended her life by jumping before Delhi-Jind Passenger train yesterday, they said.
The reason behind the girl taking the extreme step is yet to be ascertained, police said.

Moroccan law graduate who set himself on fire dies  (01/24/2012)  A 27-year-old Moroccan who set himself on fire to protest his unemployment died from his burns Tuesday in a Casablanca hospital, his wife said.

Abdelwahab Zaydoun was part of a group of unemployed graduates who occupied an Education Ministry building inRabat, the Moroccan capital, to protest their unemployment and threatened to set themselves fire when police didn’t let supporters deliver them food.

Prosecutor commits suicide during traffic stop (11/11/2011): Christine Trevino, 51, of Escondido committed suicide at 6:36 p.m. outside a shopping center at Vista Way and Jefferson Street, north of state Route 78. Police had been looking for her to conduct a welfare check, said Lt. Leonard Mata in a news release.

Escondido police had received information earlier in the day that Trevino had threatened to kill herself, got into her car and drove away from her home. Using unmarked cars, police tracked her cell phone and located her in Carlsbad, where they requested assistance from the Carlsbad Police Department.

Council lawyer who hanged himself ‘wrote suicide letter to controversial boss Andrea Hill’ (08/31/2011)

Student’s Death Likely a Suicide (04/29/2010) CHAPEL HILL — A student found dead in an Odum Village apartment on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus Wednesday was a third-year law student who appeared to have killed himself, law school dean Jack Boger said Thursday.

Pune Law Student Commits Suicide (01/26/2010)PUNE/AHMEDNAGAR: A second-year student of DES Law College in Pune allegedly committed suicide by jumping into a well at Umbare Khandba village near Rahuri in Ahmednagar district, about 150 km from Pune, on Monday.

Suicide Victim a Baker & Hostetler Partner (01/22/2010) Police have determined that the death of John Mason Mings earlier this week on a beach in Galveston, Texas, was an apparent suicide. Mings was 45.

Body of Missing University of Michigan Law Student Found (12/03/2009) A University of Michigan Law School student reported missing last month hanged himself, Washtenaw County sheriff’s deputies said.

She was a mother of three and top lawyer who jumped off a bridge into the Thames. What does her death tell us about Britain today? (08/01/2009)

What do you do when your child is asking for you, while your boss is insisting that you get yourself into the next meeting, all the time desperately trying not to show one iota of the stress you are under beneath that polished veneer of professionalism.

It is an impossible situation. Why do it? For power and prestige? For inner fulfillment? Clearly, the latter was insufficient to prevent this lovely young woman cracking under the strain of it all and seeking her own final solution

Mark Levy–Laid off Lawyer Commits Suicide (04/30/2009). Mark Levy, a Washington DC lawyer, shot himself in the head in his office one day after being laid off from his law firm Kilpatrick Stockton.

 …David Baum, the law school’s assistant dean and senior manager of student affairs, said in a statement posted on Above the Law that the school had been aware of McGinnis’ challenges and adjusted his academic load.

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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.”

Student Loan Relief for DOJ Attorneys

So, should you be a Department of Justice attorney you’re in for a treat. The Department of Justice has a program to help reduce your student loans, with several exceptions: http://www.justice.gov/oarm/aslrp/poliy.htm#b. The DOJ wants to recruit and retain basically tier-1 law graduates. However, even if you qualify  “funding does not permit selection of all qualifying attorneys for participation in the ASLRP.” Wow, it almost reminds me of the pro bono/not for profit/public interest incentive student loan program–basically almost non-existent, so many hoops to jump through, and should you qualify you will get only a certain portion applied to your student loans.

Looking at most of the DOJ attorneys who do not qualify are, yes you guessed it “temp attorneys” o.k. not in the sense implied but call it excepted service, contractual, temporary,  appointment etc. Factually, excepted service is not permanent employment, GS-level (nor do you qualify for interdepartmental vacancy transfers), or contractual, it is code for “at will” employment. Even in the federal government short-term attorneys are the dregs of the legal field.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management ( http://www.opm.gov/oca/pay/studentloan/HTML/QandAs.asp) multiple federal agencies may use this program to benefit its employees. So why doesn’t the federal government implement a program where it contributes to the repayment of your student loans, should one be employed in the private sector and make less than $65,000, paying interest on the student loans, let alone the unemployed are left to once again fend against Sallie Mae all by their lonesome. One could only fathom the number of restrictions that non-federal employee would have to fulfill should a program like this be implemented. What’s convenient for you is that you don’t have to, because well, they just do not exist.

A Post from Above the Law Website: Commentary on ABA approved outsourcing

This article was featured on Above the Law website, surprisingly it concerns the plight of unemployed attorneys who must survive amidst the legal outsourcing phenomenon by corporate law firms. Hopefully this wasn’t already posted on another blog. I wonder to what extent outsourcing is receiving such attention now, is it because T-14 graduates are now having to be in the company of the non-prestigious lawyers and it is having a big effect on them? I remember attorneys telling me that the discovery review work was for a long period of time the work of first year associates, then became the work of the contractual attorneys–which helped firms bottom lines. So I initially thought, maybe as a result the firms would not hire as many associates who are likely from T-14, thus rendering them in pro bono, internship or contract attorney work. As outsourcing gained additional support, more attorneys across the economic and social spectrum have been affected–is this why more people care now? Or do they really?: Anyway here’s the featured piece:

Legal Olympics Update: Outsourcing E-Discovery Sliding Down Slippery Slope, at Record Speed

The author doesn’t seem to oppose the cost-cutting effects on most American attorneys but suggests it’s primarily an issue of quality. Agreeably the standards in most foreign countries are likely not as strict in it’s process. So I get from this that it’s ok to keep outsourcing as long as quality measures were actually put in place. So in the end, no one cares about the masses of American attorneys affected by it.

On a Lighter Note…: Television Images We See of Black Attorneys

.yes I had to put legalease in the caption

I was thinking about the images of the 1980s-present of black lawyers I saw on television. Of course we remember Clair Huxtable, the very witty-social host-mother-wife-attorney whom could be seen polishing the family silverware in the kitchen. I think for me that was the first time I saw an image of a black woman as a successful lawyer married to a doctor who both had deep respect for their cultural roots and family values.

Of course I remember Maxine Shaw from ‘Living Single’, Freddie when she was accepted to the prestigious yet fictious HBCU Hillman Law School, the prosecutor-District Attorney Carter (Courtney Vance) from Law & Order, Joan and William, the corporate associates on ‘Girlfriends’.

Unfortunately, these shows didn’t show the reality of many Black American attorneys who didn’t attend elite schools, weren’t a part of the black upper class (yes they do exist in America, read: Our Kind of People by Lawrence Otis Graham), nor part of the black or white connected clubs which I see is somewhat intertwined with the previous ideal.

As a matter of fact, the spin-off of ‘Girlfriends’ was based on Joan’s younger sister struggling through medical school while seeing a famous rookie football player, as well as in ‘A Different World’ the character Kim’s father is a policeman and she struggles working two jobs through undergrad and struggles through medical school. Why is law school so glamorized while television continues to show medical residents and doctors struggle to balance their lives with their hoped for career. Maybe because so many attorneys in reality are that stereotype: conniving, deceptive, trained to have a tough exterior where weakness is frowned upon. I guess in a way there aren’t enough strong attorneys with the courage to expose the inherent pitfalls in attending law school, because that would be weak, that would be an “admission” that you didn’t make it, well that’s just not being a lawyer!

With these pictorial depictions flashed in front of millions, who would be a poor or middle class prospective law student’s mentor to steer them to the right school or even guide them as to whether law is an appropriate field? How do these potential mentors access them? One way is through these blogs.

Does Prince George’s Need a Law School?: An Article in The Washington Post

Are you kidding me? Maryland is one of the smallest states in the country already has two law schools and borders Washington, DC and Virginia. The question is does America needs another law school? What really bothers me is that African-Americans make up the majority and has since pretty much of the inception of Prince George’s County, Maryland. Since the 1990s (we’ll leave historical racial discrimination alone for now) the housing market, specifically banks have already raped the pockets of these residents by giving them subprime loans. No, they qualified for better loans but because they were black the banks decided to give the worst terms to them:  
The Seattle Times, ‘Judge dismisses Baltimore suit against Wells Fargo,’ The Associated Press January 7, 2010. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2010726364_apuswellsfargosubprimelawsuit.html?syndication=rss 
The New York Times, ‘Memphis Accuses Wells Fargo of Discriminating Against Blacks,’ Michael Powell, December 30, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/31/us/31wells.html (last visited January 16, 2010)
WBALtv.com, ‘City Tries To Push Forward Wells Fargo Lawsuit: City Claims Wells Fargo Used Predatory Lending On Blacks,’ June 29, 2009. http://www.wbaltv.com/money/19897079/detail.html
The New York Times, ‘Bank Accused of Pushing Bad Mortgage Deals on Blacks,’ June 6, 2009, Michael Powell http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/us/07baltimore.htm?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1260291635-M9E2ycPY47KMy84bjX/QWA 
NAACP Press Release, March 13, 2009, NAACP Files Landmark Lawsuit Today Against Wells Fargo and HSBC
http://www.naacp.org/news/press/2009-03-13/index.htm . The point is that blacks haven’t recovered from this last recession, the being taken advantage of when they think they finally have an opportunity to make it and here comes the law schools, ready to exploit them in another way. NO! Anyway, here’s the article:
_________________________________________________________________________________________
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/annapolis/2009/04/legal_studies.html
The General Assembly has nixed a study of a D.C. United soccer stadium in Prince George’s this year, but here’s something they’ve given the go-ahead to study: A possible law school in the Washington area.
Del. Justin D. Ross (D-Prince George’s) worked with Del. John L. Bohanan Jr. (D-St. Mary’s), the chair of the education subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, to insert language in the state budget authorizing the study. The budget now asks that the University system study the “feasibility and logistical costs and benefits” of launching a branch of the University of Baltimore’s law school in the D.C. area. The report is to be submitted to the legislature by Sept. 1.
Ross said his goal is to look at creating a law school in Prince George’s County, a reasonable place for a law school, he said, because of the University of Maryland’s undergrad campus in College Park and the federal courthouse in Greenbelt. U-Md.’s law school is located in Baltimore.
“I think it could be a great success for the University of Baltimore law school and the county,” he said.
 
By Rosalind Helderman  |  April 13, 2009; 10:32 AM ET
________________________________________________________________________________
NOTICE HOW THEY WANT TO PUT THE FOURTH TIER LAW SCHOOL [http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/rankings/title+University%20of%20Baltimore
IN THE MAJORITY BLACK MIDDLE CLASS COUNTY INSTEAD OF University of Maryland (Tier 1) Law School [http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/rankings/c_final_tier+1/title+University%20of%20Maryland],
which would make more sense, since the University of Maryland (Terps) College Park is already there.  BLACK PEOPLE DON’T LET THEM EXPLOIT YOUR IGNORANCE! The article towards the very end makes it appear that ONLY UM has a law school, wrong both UM and UB already exists in Baltimore, Maryland!