Posts Tagged ‘Sallie Mae’

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.”

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Too Little Too Late Part II: ABA Journal Article

A recent blurb was published in the online ABA Journal positing the question of how to improve law schools. One of the highlighted suggestions included reducing the cost of a law school education. This will have a two fold negative effect: 1) As law schools are already discharging and furloughing support staff and adjunct faculty to further reduce costs will increase the loss of non tenured faculty and support staff (I know reader, I heard you chuckle) 2) Will lower the standards of a law school education which will make the law degree worth even less than it is now, as many law graduates learned the hard way. Ironically, it is published by the very law school accrediting agency that is responsible for the glut of attorneys that’s been happening for decades. Those who are in a position to implement change can start by not accrediting any more law schools and it is now time to shut down many of them. The measurement of success is not just in a constricted market but does the law degree hold value when the economy enjoys economic progress. For most, the answer is “no” as the problem existed for decades cloaked under false employment statistics and contract work. For many law schools the following suggestions is akin to performing CPR after the person has died.
I hope you enjoy the comic relief:
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How to improve law school? Required clinical training, capped loans are among expert suggestions
http://www.abajournal.com/mobile/article/how_to_improve_law_school_required_clinical_training_capped_loans_are_among/
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Jul 24, 2013, 05:45 am CDT
Law schools that once promised grads a place among the elite need to change along with the legal profession, according to several experts who offered their suggestions.

The New Republic queried the experts as a follow-up to an article that, in its words, “chronicles the looming economic collapse of the legal profession.” ABAJournal.com reported on the highlights or the prior article here. The experts’ suggestions are here.

Among the suggestions gathered by the New Republic:

• From Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz: Law schools should offer two years of academic instruction and a third year focused on the student’s career choice that could include internships and clinical training. The third year change might result in the need for fewer teachers and reduced costs. “There are no free lunches when it comes to legal education,” he write, “but cost-cutting is essential as law-school tuition has ballooned dramatically over the past half century.”

• From University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos, who formerly blogged at Inside the Law School Scam: Cap student loans. “The cost of law school needs to be reduced to what it was a generation ago,” he writes. “This would happen practically overnight if the federal government put reasonable caps on educational loans.”

• Slate legal correspondent Dahlia Lithwick: Add a hands-on clinical component to legal education, and put it during the first year. “The hope is that a year of practicing taking depositions, doing document review, and interviewing cranky clients might have helped clarify for many of us, early and often, that we won’t all get to be Clarence Darrow,” she says.

Reminder to Law Graduates: Student Loans Are Not Dischargeable

Early last year I posted about recent law graduates who filed bankruptcy due to student loans: 
‘Breaking News (02/03/2012): Law grads go to Court for Bankruptcy Protection’
https://lifesmockery.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/breaking-news-02032012-law-grads-go-to-court-for-bankruptcy-protection/

This is to remind law graduates and those who plan to attend law school and estimate that if their law career doesn’t hold muster that they can seek relief from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. This is not the case, you do not have the protection of the law on your side, it is all for big business and corporate greed. As other bloggers continue to emphasize: student loans are non-dischargable debt.

The following TIME magazine article, also from last year explains the same: Why Can’t You Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy, TIME Magazine, February 09, 2012:
http://business.time.com/2012/02/09/why-cant-you-discharge-student-loans-in-bankruptcy/

TIME Magazine Article: Just How Bad Off Are Law School Graduates?

I don’t think it is just the scam blogging I think the problem is so obvious that mainstream media has to address it:

TIME Magazine Article (03/11/2013): Just How Bad Off Are Law School Graduates?

The first thing I’ll note is that this piece focuses on recent graduates, when I say recent I refer to those who graduated in the past four years, primarily when the economic collapse occurred until now. This problem has been pervasive for decades and band-aiding it with non-profit centers while students have nearly mortgage-sized debt and no ability to pay or discharge the debt will not cure the law school malady. Here’s an excerpt:

And it gtimeets worse still. There are a surprising number of job postings for lawyers that offer no salary at all, including government law jobs. That raises the question — as one headline put it — “Would You Work as a Federal Prosecutor — For Free?

Being unemployed — or working at minimum wage — is rough in the best of circumstances. But it is especially crippling for students who get out of school with six-figure debts that are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. The average debt load for law school graduates is now over $100,000 — and at some schools, it tops $150,000.

My favorite part is: Prospective law students are already responding to the dismal job market. Applications to law school are expected to hit a 30-year low this year — down as much as 38% from 2010. Some law schools have responded by shrinking their class sizes, and there have been predictions that in the not-too-distant future some lower-ranked law schools might have to close entirely. (emphasis mine)

Keep it up!, with more  schools closings, more professors will lose their jobs or not make tenure and then the law school administrators and those who tortured us a purveyors of the industry in the name of intellectual pursuit will know how it feels on the other side. The message is beyond clear, it is translucent: Do not go to law school, it simply is not worth it (and stop being rude to those who did years ago, we were trying to make better lives for ourselves but apparently it was based on a lie).

Get the word out, don’t let your son, daughter, sister, brother become a victim of joblessness, insurmountable debt. Just tell them “say no” to law school–they’ll thank you in the long run.

College: Is is Worth It? A Recap of Katie Couric Show

A week or so ago, Katie Couric had a show entitled: “College Is it Worth It.” She had a panel discussion with 3 people: The young actress from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, a Columbia professor (black) and one white guy who said college wasn’t worth it.katie

I found this episode interesting on many fronts because–I usually do not watch her show and the people likely to promote education were Black. I find it sad that Blacks remain deluded into thinking that college provides upward mobility in this post 9/11, current global, automated grind we call a world economy. I sympathized with Tatyana? Ali’s view as she graduate from Harvard and people would take her seriously. Worthy that her’s was an exception after having relative success at a young age in the theatrical arts she could actually afford and would know about an IVY league school.

It has always been the history of corporate America that a white male can work his way up the corporate ladder by starting in the mailroom and making connections. If you are a person of color, you are expected to not only be in the mailroom but to stay there. So I was not surprised to hear his viewpoint. The guy actually was a recipient of some fellowship that will pay high school graduates $100,000 to NOT GO to college/university in order to promote innovation. Now that’s an opportunity most of us wish existed when we were making our decisions whether to attend university.

Later, she had Tina Fey and Paul Rudd promoting their movie in which the former plays an admissions counselor in college. Katie Couric asked Tina Fey what advice she would give those considering college. Her response, geez I don’t know, I graduated from UVA, where the price was more reasonable. I was able to live off of $600 a month and take improv class. She said the college experience helps develop you as a young person. Then she looked so befuddled at the current state of affairs and just said I don’t know I guess you guys have to pay back the student loans.

Lastly, the show asked recent undergraduate students to tweet their college debts. Mind you these people haven’t even began to matriculate in graduate or professional level university. I saw three tweets at a glance–they were all female and each one had over $100,000 in student loan debt. Mind you women in America still make only 70% of what their equally qualified and/or educated counterpart makes. This also does not include women of color who, I read months ago in Trans-global report about economic and job progress stated that Black women who earn higher education degrees (university and/or graduate level) still have a harder time gaining employment than black male counterparts. Presumably the latter can find work in construction or labor jobs which do not require college degrees.

College, is it worth it? With all of this information regarding worthless degrees, shrinking economy, interdependent global economy forcing nations to bail out other nations because of a pact while ignoring the tens of thousands of unemployed and underemployed people in their own borders, I think the answer is quite obvious.

Too Little Too Late: Four Ways to Fix Law Schools (U.S. News & World Reports)

It has been a long time since I posted here, primarily due to focusing on my survival in such a grave economy and Sallie Mae venomously nipping at my heels. Anyway, I came across this “article” Four Ways to Fix Law Schools (click link). I find this as too little too late. Sometimes it is better to let something that is on death bed to pass away peacefully. For decades proponents of the law school industry have known that they were creating a bubble that would burst. Those law schools already in existence continued to pump out exorbitant number of law graduates by either increasing class sizes or adding programs to its over-saturated law school population. The ABA who loves to perpetuate the fun continued to accredit law schools though statistically it was quite aware of the economic burden v. benefits were not adding up. The main excuse the ABA used was that it would violate antitrust laws should it limit the accreditation of any additional law schools. This is counterintuitive. Antitrust laws exist to keep a market competitive for available sources, it is not to create a general market with barely any regulation so in reality there is no competition because there aren’t many jobs to compete for. Increasing law school admissions does not expand the job market it only makes the legal industry worse.

The suggestions listed in the article are simply too little too late. Even where it states to train U.S. attorneys to work abroad, in previous posts I have discussed that Spain, England and some Asian countries have a surplus of attorneys, and most of them do not think highly of the U.S. It is unreasonable to think that other countries, some part of the European Union which has their own economic crises to deal with, will welcome an influx of American attorneys with open arms.

Though it is common sense that in any industry, the learner must have “hands-on” experience and some level of intellectual pursuit. Law schools churned out too many “what if” asking professionals instead of those who can actually practice law. Those who can likely went to law schools that catered to local hiring and thus do not fall within the IVY League core, in essence the former has little to no change of upward mobility in experience or expanding their practicing fields. This article also focuses on the ‘future’ and has no solution or even reference to recent law graduates or attorneys who were not trained under apprenticeships though required to CLEs.  Thousands upon thousands of American attorneys who have already been thrown to the wayside, yet we are to believe that all of a sudden a 3-point article offers best solutions for potential law graduates.. Should of any of the law schools and ABA would like to take this article seriously it would have to take an economic loss by choosing a moratorium on any further law schools to be accredited and recommended lower admissions until either the legal industry re-invents itself or the lawyer to job creation numbers reaches a reasonable number. Until then this is simply baiting those who are still in their desperate state of minds consider law school as a viable option for a career and those who have a financial stake in the business aspect of the law school industry. This is just more fluff to keep the facade that the legal industry can recover. Times change, both economically and practically and they appear to change for the worse. The recommendation stays the same, the nearly insurmountable debt and poor quality of life is not worth it. Do not go to law school.

10 Things Law Schools Won’t Tell You: We reveal why the Juris Doctor isn’t what it used to be.

An article by SmartMoney magazine.  If you believe the following, in particular in reference to a law degree, you’re highly misguided and simply not listening to the CLEAR warnings being issued by the law school scam blogs and now the mainstream media:

“I thought if I got a higher degree, I’d have a better chance to get a job, but that’s not what happened.”

Ha. My favorite part is the caveat emptor, nonchalant ‘you’re stupid enough to believe what we say attitude from one administrator of the Thomas Cooley School of Law. Leave it to an attorney to justify its clients’ deceptive practices and possible violations of civil law. Yes, this is what you deal with in the real world, your supposed bosses, colleagues and mentors will eat you alive as long as they get paid to do it. “…. James Thelen, general counsel at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, says the institution follows the American Bar Association and NALP’s rules when reporting job placement rates, and its web site lists the sectors its graduates have been hired to work in. Separately, he says, colleges can’t predict how an economic downturn will impact job openings. “No reasonable person could look at the accurate data we report about graduate employment today and believe that it is a guarantee that the very same percentage of job opportunities will be available when he or she graduates,” says Thelen.” You hear that? you are being referred to as irrational, lacking sense or the ability to deduce that you will be gainfully employed or employed at all by believing what law school’s official represent in their statistics. Classic.

From the Wall Street Journal to the New York Times and now SmartMoney (this media outlet is designed to inform consumers about financial planning and investments–hint, hint) So if you haven’t received the hint that you should not go to law school, then go ahead, don’t say we didn’t warn you. This is self-explanatory, the rest of the story is here:  10 Things Law Schools Won’t Tell You ; SmartMoney, June 6, 2012.

Why I don’t like Sallie Mae

Well, for the obvious reasons. They are oppressive and there seems to be no end in sight for their billing tactics. We all know that recently a lawsuit was filed against Sallie Mae, SLM and subsidiaries for violating federal law. One of the options for damages is to have your student loan balance reduced instead of receiving an actual monetary award. Let’s see all of the billions of dollars in student debt, billions of consumers/students’ whose privacy rights were violated, attorney fees, court costs. I think each student will have a calculable $100 (that’s being generous) deduction.

Anyway, I was behind on the private student loans of which I have two (2). Scrimping and sacrificing to make my account current. For some reason most of the customer service representatives are vindictive women who hate their lives and take joy in making you deal with them. The other day I set up an auto payment and made a sigh of relief. This rude and cantankerous woman chuckled, literally in my ear and said even with these payments you are [this amount of time] behind. She actually had joy that I was still a little late on the most current payment. These people are sick and I’m sure they train their staff to the lowest customer service representative to the CEO that student borrowers are commodities which can be bundled (consolidated), traded (sold) and mocked. I say do whatever you can to pay off any private loans you have and let them see a grand reduction in student loan debt. Let these customer service representatives lose their jobs and see how it feels to struggle with barely anything to try to do the right thing while this corporate monstrosity makes a mockery of your effort. That my dear, will be karma.

#@&% No!: More lawyers of color a law school priority (Updated)

You see this? More lawyers of color a law school priority (Daily Planet, 05/24/2012)When an industry is failing that’s when they desire more people of color–so they can take them down with them. A year ago I posted an article regarding this issue and apparently it is being revisited. Listen wisely people of color, especially Blacks. Do not allow propaganda, rhetoric and false promises deceive you into attending law school. Let’s look at the facts:

*Law school tuition increases, while unemployment in the legal industry steadily decreases.

*Since the 2008 recession, the U.S. national unemployment rate hovered I think around 9+%. For Black Americans specifically it was a consistent 15%. When things are bad, they are really bad for Blacks.

*Unemployment as of last week continued to worsen in the public sector (federal and state government), because as one news article reported the bulk of Black unemployment is in this sector. Translation: whites in the mid to BigLaw firms have always been hesitant if not blatantly refuse to hire you. For those wise enough to apply to Yale or Harvard, a white male from the same alma mater will still win over you.

*The average law student must take out student loans: No ifs, ands, or buts. So an average person of color from working class or middle class will never have ALL of their tuition/fees paid by non-dischargrable Sallie Mae debt. Should you be able to find a job upon graduation, know that you will not make $150,000+ starting nor ever. Since state and federal government have continued to shrink its workforce, by the time new 0Ls apply there will be even less jobs in that sector.

This industry wants to get as many people of color mired in debt. Use your critical thinking skills and common sense. As mentioned before, you are wise to this game they’re attempting to play. Remember when the 4th tier UB Law attempted to open a branch law school in Prince George’s County-a county that has always been historically Black? It didn’t go through (See my post: Does Prince George’s Need a Law School?: An Article in The Washington Post (February 11, 2010) It does not matter if it’s Maryland or Minnesota or Massachussetts, it is a horrible scheme across the board.

Now there’s another scheme in the works in the guise of getting people of color represented in the legal industry. How about getting people of color represented in a legitimate workforce that actually helps them achieve a standard of living and have dignity? No, just more debt. Nothing but legal education sharecropping. You will be calling Sallie Mae “master.”

**Please also see: Minorities Decrease Enrollment in Law Schools: They Figured Out the Game (07/16/2010; Life’s Mockery)

“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

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