Posts Tagged ‘student loans’

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.

“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

The Mainstream Media Harks the Trumpet: Overburden Law Graduates with Usurious Student Loans (NYT)

The New York Times

So, at this point the mainstream media gets it? Why you may ask. Because the Housing bubble put the nation and the world economy on notice that the old way of financially devastating working/middle class persons who took a chance on higher education will not only destroy their way of living but burden the world economies. Interestingly, the author suggest more accountability in accredidation (not likely to happen, if Sallie Mae lobbied Congress to privatized and obliterate “fresh start” by discharging student loans through bankruptcy; I’m sure these for profit institutions will lobby (pay) Congress to keep out of ABA’s ‘free market enterprise’ of exploitation–ironically in the legal field.

He also suggests stripping away tenure track positions. Hmmm maybe professors will be forced to teach with integrity and on merit not based on race, personality conflict or whether the student is the child of a local judge. Doubt the latter, but support the author’s recommendation. Here’s an excerpt:

Two factors have combined to produce this situation: the federal loan system and the American Bar Association-imposed accreditation standards for law schools. Both need to be reformed.

First, consider the loan system. For more than three decades, law schools have steadily increased tuition because large numbers of students have been willing and able to pay whatever price the schools demanded. Annual tuition at many law schools in just over a decade surpassed $30,000, then $40,000 and is now more than $50,000 at a few. The reason that students have been able to pay such astronomical sums is that the federal government guaranteed student loans from private lenders, and now it supplies the loans itself with virtually no limits.

To restore some economic rationality, the federal loan system needs to demand greater accountability from law schools: those with a high proportion of recent graduates in financial trouble should lose their eligibility to receive money from federal loans. (A similar requirement is currently applied to for-profit colleges.)

The full article can be found at:

How to Make Law School Affordable – NYTimes.com (05/31/2012)

Summer is in the air, so is the stinch of unemployment: More Rejection Letters

What would be a start to a new season without sharing some additional rejection letters for employment the past few months. Ready, let’s dig in! :

05/25/2012:
This refers to the application you recently submitted to this office for the position below:
Position Title: Public Affairs Specialist
Series/Grade:
1035/11
Promotion Potential: 11
Vacancy ID: 651583
Agency: Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and the Office of the U.S. Attorneys
Considered For:Southern District of New York
Duty Location:
New York, NY
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 employing agency at this time. If we receive a request from the agency for additional candidates, or another agency requests a list of eligibles for a very similar position within the next 90 days, your application will again be reviewed for possible referral.

I regret that a more personal form of communication is not possible. For any questions concerning this acknowledgment, please send an e-mail to usaeo.usastaffing@usdoj.gov or contact the agency representative listed in the vacancy announcement. Thanks again for your interest in employment with our agency. (Yes, I am sure you are simply heart broken that I did not receive further consideration, oops wait no real consideration for this position. Let me grab a tissue for you. Meanwhile Sallie Mae continues to threaten me because I am unable to sustain payments.

04/18/2012:
Thank you for your interest in the Attorney position with PGCPS. Unfortunately at this time, we are unable to fill this position. Please continue to check on our website for future positions at pgcps.org. (Here’s clue, stop advertising for positions you have no intent to fill. This is a waste of the local taxpayers money and for those who sent applications/resume via postal mail, it is a waste of resume paper and postage. See it costs money on both sides when you play this game).

04/09/2012:
Dear Applicant:
Thank you for your interest in the Program Manager-Libya position with the National Democratic Institute (NDI). We have received a large number of inquiries from highly qualified candidates for this role. At this time, we have decided to move forward with an individual who more closely matches the skills and qualifications required for this role. (I’m sure you have, while I applied as others encourage me to pursue the versatility aspect of a law degree and to try “something else.” Maybe you can tell them you don’t care for lawyers either.)

02/28/2012:
This refers to the application you recently submitted to this office for the position below:
Position Title: Attorney Advisor CORE
Pay Plan:   GS
Series/Grade:  0905-13
Vacancy ID: 519372
Announcement Number: MG2011-T0333-DAV-519372-COR
Hiring Office: Administrator 000 Office of Chief Counsel
Results regarding your recent referral to the Hiring Official are as follows:
Referral Type: Non-Traditional
Appointment Type: Temporary
Specialty / Grade: 0905 – 13
Promotion Potential: 13
Locations: Washington DC Metro Area, DC
The hiring office has decided not to fill the position at this time. (You don’t say, hmmm is it because of the federal deficit or the fact that people who are the highest unemployed are people of color and that’s the bulk of your applicants. Guess you are waiting for your perfect Harvard bred, Anglo-Saxon, male applicant to fill this position.)

02/23/2012:
Thank you for your interest in USAID and the position listed above (Contract Specialist). We are writing to notify you that the team has completed the review of applicants and you were not selected for this position. USAID is a rapidly growing organization that must quickly adapt to the changing world. Consequently our hiring needs change frequently. We would like to invite you to continue to look through our open positions at USAID.GOV or http://www.avuecentral.com. There may be other positions that might match your skills. (wait I thought I could do any thing with a law degree including contracts?)
Because of the volume of resumes we receive, we find it necessary to use the on-line application to screen candidates. If you do apply for another position, please provide as much detail as possible on the application form.
We appreciate your on-going interest in USAID and wish you the best of luck… (I usually won’t go there but I’m at my brink so I give a “liar and f*** you” to the person who auto-generated this rejection letter.)

Cautionary Advice about Attending Law School-Clark Howard

A few days ago, when I actually had access to a television I saw Clark Howard’s show. For those who do not know, he is a regular guy who kind of became obsessed with money and saved much at a young age and now gives advice to others.

Anyway, a young man called in stating he was accepted to a few law schools and was asking which one, if any should he attend. The caller stated that a low ranked law school offered him $15,000 a year to defray the cost of attending such a ‘prestigious’ institution. He also explained that one of the other law school’s he applied for higher ranked but did not offer a scholarship at all.

Clark Howard asked him that it really didn’t make a difference between law schools and ask the gentleman whether or not he thought it was worth it since the legal industry has continued to suffer under this economy. Clark Howard proclaimed that if one of the law schools ranked in the Top 5 (notice not 1st tier, not first 25, not top 14 or 10, but 5!)…then long term investment even without scholarship would be worth it, otherwise he should really consider his choices among the law schools. I looked at Clark Howard’s face and knowing he is conservative with his money it looked like he wanted to say don’t go to law school but feared backlash. Kind of what Oprah suffered when she made don’t eat beef comment then was the target for a civil lawsuit.

Where were the  Clark Howards of the world hen the rest of us applied?

Congress investigates law schools

All Rights Reserved

According to the Tennesseean’s article Corporations add transparency; so can universities (02/15/2012). This makes sense. Law schools and other universities conduct themselves as for profit they should have all the regulations and accountability that goes with it. Employment statistics, true rankings, endowments, donations, investments and distribution of funding. The first paragraph of this article makes you mentally say an exclamatory *yes*:

The U.S. Senate is investigating law schools’ student data for accuracy, as evidence grows that public information released misrepresents the truth.

Hopefully, Congress will not address the legal industry like the housing market–lawsuits and settlements and restructure only for those affected since 2008 til present. These institutions of higher education have been gaming the system for decades.

Did I Read This Correctly?: ABA Telling College Students NOT To Go To Law School…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ABA Telling Law Students Not to Go To Law School (01/2012)according to Outside the Beltway the ABA issued this Statement last month. Interesting points:   

*According to the association, over the past 25 years law school tuition has consistently risen two times faster than inflation. Keep going…

All Rights Reserved

*The ABA is also warning of endowment losses, declining state support, and difficulties in fundraising that have hit law schools hard. It expects most public schools to raise tuition this year by 10 to 25 percent. Oh you were doing so well. I hardly believe law schools are “hard-up” despite law school scam warnings some law schools actually saw an increase in enrollment between 2008-2009. Or with tighter scrutiny law schools are being accountable for quality of accepted students and class size. I seriously doubt it’s for the reason the ABA claims.

To conclude: “Tens of thousands of dollars in debt — and a shiny degree: But, at the end of the day, getting a job in law could be a cold case in 2011.” Translation: Having a law degree is a dead end for your career. Enjoy.

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.

The Law School Scam: More Law Schools Sued!

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I double-checked and did notice this news article Former Law Students Sue Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Others Over Grade (02/08/2012) reported law students who have sued two law schools. The law schools-Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law  appears to be separate from the other lawsuits against 12 law schools 12 Law Schools Sued Over Misleading Jobs Data (02/12/2012) sued for misleading students with skewed employment statistics and fudging their rankings.

These law students sued over the grading system. I will be the first to agree. Should you be the son or daughter of a local judge, know that your grade will automatically be above the middle or top.  Should you be a minority–good luck. Some of these professors will treat you like sh** more than the other law students and will abuse the socratic method to the point where you’re awaiting Strom Thurman to break out his overseer whip. Or arrange the pecking order a different way if you’re not only a person of color but a woman, another level of being a minority. The truth is it doesn’t matter how good you are. The bias exists one way or another, race, gender, personality  differences…. Do not think you have to know someone is for the getting a job only, it applies in law school as well. The law school classroom is their stage and you, dear student are the marionette.  Why put yourself through that abuse, while indebting yourself to a system that could care less that you live or die. Some of us did not know in advance what we would endure. But you do, it is your choice.

Kansas City Star: Would-be Lawyers Find it Harder to Break Into Profession: 02/06/2012

No Job After Graduating Law School

Excerpts from this article: Would-be lawyers find it harder to break into profession (02/06/2012) This news piece focuses only on law graduates from 2008-2011 and does not even mention the hordes of struggling and unemployed attorneys with experience from years prior. While the larger, established Kansas City firms have prospered or at least held steady through the recent recession and weak recovery, they have cut back on hiring associates.

 So the big firms who are very selective already are cutting back on hiring permanent attorneys from top rated law schools. The masses of attorneys do not have a chance at a decent income. The big firms are: “Many are outsourcing more work to contract employees.” —hiring contract attorneys or sending the work to India.

 “I’m not sure if we’re going back to the status quo, but the legal profession as a whole is doing well,” said Nancy Kenner, the board president of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association. “For new lawyers, it’s very difficult to find jobs right now.

Right after is the subtitle: A Tighter Market; who does she think she’s fooling? The journalist tries to downplay it, it’s not dozens, it’s thousands nationwide. This is your future for the majority of you who insist on attending law school:

 Take David Winter, who graduated last spring from the University of Missouri Law School. Now back home with his parents in the St. Louissuburb of Maryville, Ill., he owes $90,000 for law school and is taking temp jobs reviewing legal documents for $20 an hour while he searches for a full-time position. It is not encouraging that he works alongside dozens of unemployed lawyers doing the same part-time work.

 Don’t be this law student: “We’re all cautious,” she said. “Some people have regrets — ‘If I’d known the market would be that way, I wouldn’t have gone to law school’ — but I don’t think that’s the prevailing view. In other words, many law graduates have deluded themselves into believing they will get that big firm job, make six figures and pay off those student loans in short period of time. They are suffering from a psychosis, built and reinforced by false hopes, rhetoric and advertising and the elusive American Dream that has dwindled to a nightmare of poverty and scavenging to survive.

So that you won’t regret your decision, make the wise one—just say no.

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