Posts Tagged ‘unemployment’

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.”

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.

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.

Woa Tells Us How You Really Feel: Forbes-Why Attending Law School Is The Worst Career Decision You’ll Ever Make

Why Attending Law School Is The Worst Career Decision You’ll Ever Make; Forbes Magazine, 06/26/2012

Not my words, words of Forbes magazine contributor. Wow, the magazine that is all about investing, making money, describing the wealthiest people around the world telling you law school is a bad investment. May we say told you so? This is major. We already witnessed The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal joining in the protest of ‘say no to law school,’ but Forbes. I must say this is great!

The news for would-be attorneys keeps getting worse. According to analysis from the Wall Street Journal released yesterday, only 55% of class of 2011 law school grads were employed full-time as lawyers nine months after graduation. The other 45% may be unemployed, working at Starbucks or starting their own law school hate blogs. LOVE IT.

The message that law school is no longer a sure bet when it comes to employment security and financial prosperity finally seems to be sinking in for potential students. In the last two years, the number of law school applicants has dropped by almost a quarter and the number of LSAT tests administered by the Law School Admissions Council has declined by 16%. How long we’ve been writing about this? False assurance of upward mobility, excessive debt, financial indentured servant status…This is so redundant, yet so true

Behind the curtain of student loans (Law graduate gets a student loan discharge but…)

Behind the curtain of student loans – Generation J.D. (06/14/2012, Maryland Daily Record)

I will sum up this article. You either have to be a parapalegic, suffer under a severely disabling disease or die for a bank/Sallie Mae to CONSIDER fully discharging your student loans.  I’m not sure why the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Trade Commission (Truth in Lending Act) and other federal departments/agencies take a stand. Oh…Sallie Mae has the money for the lobbyists. That’s how they were able to get Congress to change the bankruptcy laws so discharging student loans is nearly impossible. Welcome to financial indentured servitude. The text of the article is below:

Behind the curtain of student loans By: Dorothy Hae Eun Min Last month, a former law student won a bid in bankruptcy court to discharge nearly $340,000 in education debt because her diagnosis of Asperger syndrome rendered her unable to repay the loans. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland found that Carol Todd, who attended (the University of Baltimore School of Law, met the difficult burden of showing that she would suffer undue hardship if forced to repay her debt. (emphasis mine) Todd received her high school GED during the late ’80s, at age 39. She received an associate degree at Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University) and a bachelor’s degree at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland (now Notre Dame of Maryland University). She began attending law school in 1992 but did not complete the program. She went on to obtain a master’s degree from Towson University and a Ph.D. from an unaccredited online school in 2007. She filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009. Todd pursued success in education “as a stepping stone toward a measure of liberation…to help her achieve something closer to a normal life.” Carol’s case is a rarity. The difficulty of proving undue hardship —the majority of claims are unsuccessful — and of discharging student loans has prompted the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys to call on Congress earlier this year to pass legislation that would allow graduates to discharge loans taken out from private lenders, including for-profit companies such as banks and student loan behemoth Sallie Mae. Similar legislation has been submitted over the past two years by Congressional Democrats without making much progress, but NACBA holds hope that this will change soon. While Todd’s story raises questions about undue hardships to borrowers due to a permanent mental disability, what does this mean for any changes to legislation when it comes to a borrower who suffers a permanent physical disability that ultimately prevents him or her from holding down a stable job to pay off student loans? Will Carol’s court decision cause lenders to increase scrutiny on prospective students with disabilities? What if the borrower is the victim of a tragic accident that leaves him in a coma? What happens when the borrower dies, but has a parent co-sign the loan? That’s Christopher Bryski’s story. Bryski was a college student at Rutgers University when he suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2004 in a fluke accident. He was in a coma for two years before passing away in 2006. To facilitate taking out private student loans for college, his father co-signed on the loans for him. Because his father co-signed on Christopher’s student loan from Key Bank, he was obligated to continue to make payments under the terms of the private loan agreement. He paid more than $20,000 of the $50,000 debt, which forced him to come out of retirement to make the monthly payments. Key Bank finally forgave the loan this past April, but not before the Bryski family struggled for six years after Christopher’s death to make payments and started a Change.org petition to seek help from the public to fight against the bank. What are your thoughts on these issues? In a volatile economy, many individuals seek further education to improve their prospective job opportunities. Should student loan companies provide more transparency to borrowers with regard to accidents and disabilities that could cause them to have trouble making payments?

The court in the first story may have granted the discharge with additional consideration that with all these degrees, one unaccredited and another (law degree) from a TTTT law school, there was no way she would be hired to pay off the debt. Interesting.

Some law schools may be reducing admissions but…

That’s not stopping new law schools from forming? What, say it isn’t so. As long as you 0L keep falling for it, they’ll keep building. “If you make it they will come.” We see how much the ABA is looking out for the legal indu$try…

Here’s the article UMass Law School Gets Provisional Accreditation from ABA:The Wall Street Journal, 06/13/2012

Some law schools are endeavoring to produce fewer graduates or to “reboot” legal education, but for others, the accreditation process keeps moving along.

Massachusetts’ first public law school, the University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth, has received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association, the Boston Globe reported.

Two words to describe this industry “cha-ching.”

The school will get full accreditation after meeting ABA standards for the next three years. Meanwhile, its students will be able to take the bar exam in any state. Previously, they could only do so in Massachusetts or Connecticut.

The provisional accreditation is expected to bring increased applications to the school, which now has 325 students, the Globe noted.

“ABA accreditation is the gold seal of approval for law schools,” retiring UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean MacCormack said, the Herald News reported.

The school was created in 2010 at the location of the former Southern New England School of Law.

As WSJ reported, the ABA accredited 10 new law schools since 2006, and the number of law graduates increased to 44,495 this year from 42,673 in that time. The number of applicants to law school has been falling recently — 14% this year from last.

Law Blog noted recently that the ABA granted a five-year extension to Tennessee’s Lincoln Memorial University to get accreditation, after denying preliminary approval last year. The extension allows students to sit for the bar exam in Tennessee.

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.

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?

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