Posts Tagged ‘no recovery’

Welcome to the Collapse

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The news article is entitled:

Welcome to the Collapse, January 3, 2011

A bleak summary of different lives of normal people in chaotic and overpriced New York. Of course you can’t have a story about the economy without referring to an unemployed lawyer right?:

The spinmeisters are playing the same record over and over, recovery, recovery, scratch, scratch, recovery’s in da house!….

Weird, such candor from the VOA. Maybe their CIA check bounced? In any case, let’s meet some denizens of Philadelphia’s the Gallery, my local shopping center. Mrs. Fischel runs a meat and cheese shop. Business has steadily declined over several years now. To make matters worse, management has raised her rent, to make up for other merchants who have closed shops or who are behind in their payments. The third level of this mall is completely dead, and the second is barely hanging on. Just this week, Payless Shoes as well as G&G, Unica and Sunshine Blues, all clothing stores, have gone belly up.

Fischel’s son, a recent graduate of law school, has moved back home from Orange County. He has no job, only mushrooming debts from student loans and credit cards. He loved California and never expected to live in Philly again. It used to be that once you moved out, you stayed out. It was an American rite of passage. By 2006, however, two-thirds of American college graduates were already returning to their parents. Now, the number is up to 85 percent[….] skipped section

Meet Mr. Ali, who runs a modest kiosk offering cheap purses, belts and watches made in China. He used to sell Gucci and Coach labels — not the bags, just the labels — which were tacked or sewn onto knockoffs by the customers themselves. Many of our poorest are infatuated with brand names. With a CK, say, slapped onto their person, they feel instantly higher class.

An immigrant from Pakistan, Ali’s first job was at a Seven Eleven, before he saved enough to buy a gas station. With his current business, it was no big deal to sell $1,500 daily. Now, he’s lucky to gross $500. Whenever this mall’s open, Ali’s in there. All he does is work. Even if there were 12 inches of snow on the ground, Ali would be there at 9AM, waiting for his first customer.

When he had savings, Ali made the fatal mistake of investing in Fannie Mae and Citigroup, among other supposedly blue chip stocks. Like millions of others worldwide, he lost his shirt. A hundred-and-forty-six thousand dollars gone. Ali sold his home and his new truck, hired a lawyer to consolidate his credit card debts. He now drives an unheated lemon. “In a couple of years, I’ll buy another house for my wife and children,” he insists even as his earning nosedives. He’s lost money the last two Christmases[….] skipped section

Back to Giuliani: he inherited his house, so Giuliani doesn’t have to worry about a mortgage, but thanks to the housing bubble, his property tax has ballooned. For sentimental reasons, Giuliani doesn’t want to sell his childhood home, but he may have to. With 10 rooms, the heating bill is enormous, and there won’t be too many buyers lining up.

The Gallery is a hub for commuter and subway trains. This design brings in more customers, sure, but the labyrinthine concourses also provide a haven for many homeless people. Dazed, they wander among shoppers, to be shooed away by guys like Giuliani. Dozing in wheelchairs, collapsing in corners or picking through trashcans, these resilient men and women seem oddly unaware that the recovery is in full swing, and that even dogs, according to our cynical media, got expensive toys this holiday.

The collapse will not be televised. Ignored and alone, each of us will experience it singly. As blemish and accusation, you will be photoshopped from the American Dream group portrait. The lower you slip, the more invisible you will become. The disconnect between what’s real and what’s broadcast will become even more obscene by the day.

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a just released novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.

Well here’s the good news; should you not land that dream job after law school, or any law-related job for that matter, especially if you’re a few years out you can always be a poster-child of why you should not go to law school. Just think when you share your heart-wrenching experience of inexplicable debt and mounting sorry you will be paid nothing. Even news writers get paid from your misery

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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.