Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Law School Fraud - Despite What The Glossy Brochures May Say, It Is Actually Tough Out There For Most Law Grads.





For most law school graduates huge salaries are a long shot. Most law grads face low pay, high debt, and substandard working conditions. Unfortunately, law schools hide this fact because US News & World Report which tracks employment information, may be prompting schools to create an artificially bright employment picture.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1183712786622

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tom, we need to plaster this article everywhere. The truth is finally getting out!

Anonymous said...

The truth will set you free.

Anonymous said...

Amen.

Anonymous said...

Tom, you forgot to mention that THESE ARE THE LAWYERS WHO ACTUALLY GOT LEGAL JOBS! It doesn't include the cab drivers or waiters.

Loyola 2L said...

At what point is a degree a fraud? When it charges $60,000 for $10/hour jobs?
You simply have no idea how bad it is in tier 2 law schools. Half of my school graduates unemployed!
Outside the top 10%, the only jobs available to us are awful $10-$20/hour jobs which work you death by dangling the promise of an offer in front of you.
Sure you can work hard, excel and do well eventually, but that's true of any job. The reason I went to law school was to get a leg up over the average citizen. People who go to good law schools get this advantage, people like me just get a $150,000 Sallie Mae rock on our backs.

Anonymous said...

As a soon to be 2L at a lowly T2, is there any practical advice some recent grads could give me in terms of trying to find a job; meaning, what can I do over the next two years, that some of you perhaps wish you did looking back. My first year grades were average, I project graduating in the top 1/2, but not top 10% of my class. My school offers various joint masters programs, and I have thought about pursuing that route. I have several friends who recently graduated from T1 schools who are extremely depressed right now with their job prospects, so I am trying to prepare myself now as a T2 student for what the future holds. Thanks for any advice... And on an aside, I am convinced textbooks are an insane racket in law school. 80% of each textbook is just cases that I can read for free online! I am seriously considering not buying books this year; but that's another issue.

Anonymous said...

When you buy textbooks alot of that money gets redirected to the law school! As if $40,000K a year isn't enough for these schools. I never knew schools charged firms for OCI space? These so called "educators" need to be stopped.

Anonymous said...

"They do not have an accurate perception of the job market," said Emily Spieler, dean of Northeastern University School of Law.


Stopped reading right there. Has that dean considered lowering her TTT's tuition? Maybe those students wouldn't expect (pray for) a six figure salary if they weren't paying over $100k in tuition to their shithole "T2".

Anonymous said...

4:52,

Sorry if this advice is obvious, but:

A. Live cheaply in law school. If you’re living alone, get a roommate. If you usually drink Budweiser, start drinking PBR. Don’t get your coffee from Starbucks, ect. Basically, do whatever you can to lower your loans. Knowing how to live leanly will help you once you graduate.

B. Get a job during the school year doing legal work. See if you can work 20 hours a week. Being top half at a T2 isn’t going to get you a big money job anywhere. But working part time at a firm will at least get you started developing a marketable skill set. If you do a good job there’s also a good chance that the attorneys you work for will know other attorneys who might be able to help you out down the road. Working will also help you keep your loans down;

C. Finally, don’t temp if you can help it. Although temp jobs will probably pay more, the only skill you’ll learn is doc review. Large scale doc review is only done by large firms that you have no chance of working at permanently. So being great at it does absolutely nothing for your marketability. Even if it means living with your parents or 4 roomates, don’t be afraid to take a job that pays less if you’ll be able to come out of it in 2 years with real experience that you can sell to another firm.

One last thought – big firms can afford to pay junior associates so much because they have so much work that doesn’t require experience to handle (like due diligence, doc review, research, securities filings, closings, ect). Several attorneys at various skill levels work on each matter. So while junior associates are learning more substantive skills that they’ll use as mid-levels, they’re also making a lot of money for the partners. At small firms that’s not usually the case. You only need one attorney to handle a typical divorce, to close on a residential real estate sale or handle a run of the mill slip and fall case. Small firm make money when the attorneys handle these matters on their own and can handle a lot of matters at a time (billing a lot of hours) or become good enough to warrant charging higher rates. For them, a new attorney who can’t handle a matter on their own or several matters at a time is essentially worthless. So it makes sense that starting salaries are so low. You’ll only make money at a small firm once you can pull your own weight. It’s worth keeping in mind as you plan out your future career path.

Anonymous said...

It's not the outrageous tuition, it's the Starbucks.

Anonymous said...

Tom--

Your photo of me for this article is not really fair! I am between projects, so I couldn't really have gotten "gussied up" as I usually am. I ask that you take my photo again, when I'm back working on a project, please. I look a little better wearing my contact lenses and my other headphones!

Happy coding!

Ian

Anonymous said...

I went to Hofstra with him.

Anonymous said...

The gravy train for temps may be slowing down considerably. Is the writing on the wall? http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2007/07/10/in-the-securities-fraud-world-the-times-are-a-changin/?mod=homeblogmod_lawblog

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!!!!!!

It's Loyola2L.

Anonymous said...

9:05,

Obviously tuition is more of a problem than Starbucks, but a lot of law students borrow the maximum amount they can to live like "lawyers" instead of living like the indentured servants they'll eventually become. I didn't have a roomate in law school, and in retrospect it was stupid and fiscally irresponsible. I also blew thousands of dollars in loan money going out to eat and taking vacations over spring break. It was fun then, but it'll probably cost me years of toiling at a horrible job to pay off. And I'm a "lucky" one who has a job. For a middle of the class T2 student, who can't control the outrageous amount of tutition, I don't think it's bad advice to say live frugally.

Anonymous said...

Instead of having to live like paupers, why don't we demand schools to freeze their outrageous 40K tuitions? Maybe the deans should cut back on their frappacinos?

Anonymous said...

Great point! But a T2 law student with no job may still want to put the high life on hold until word gets out and schools start slashing tuition.

The student was asking what he/she could do that would increase the odds of avoiding law temp hell. Short of dropping out and trying to pay for 1 year of law school loans on the salary of an english major, they should try and live more frugally to diminish the crushing debt load that will force them to do doc review for years just to make interest payments.

Anonymous said...

As the Soon To Be 2L, I appreciate the advice that's been given. Luckily, I am in a situation where my wife works full time, so I am not having to borrow the max. Plus my wife will finish her professional degree at the same time I graduate, so we will have two incomes.

In terms of living frugally, I am shocked at how many classmates live the high-life on everything from booze to going to clubs to their living arrangements. I have heard kids on the phone with their parents asking them to send out more money because they have spent their loan money. Another 1L in my apartment building was evicted because he quit paying rent in February!

In terms of the coffee thing, I drink instant coffee, which may taste like dirt, but only costs a nickel a cup. I am shocked at how many classmates spend $10-15 a day on coffee alone; I don't think many of them appreciate how much that will all cost them when they amortize that debt over 30 years...

I also consider myself lucky for having essentially no undergrad debt. 1/3 of my class came to law school with 100K+ in debt from attending private schools before they arrived here. Insane...

Anonymous said...

i graduated from a T2 in 2004, am currently working at a small law firm-i also thought i would be making over 100K after I graduated-these schools lie too much-it is sickening..but i guess that is what a liberal arts grad can look forward to-an english major is not the hardest major in the world-who else would want them other than these deceitful schools? I think the schools take advantage of the bottom of the barrell in terms of college grads-i mean if you are smart enough to be an engineer, doctor, etc why would you go into law? The people who go into law are of a lesser caliber. it makes me sad because i had the talent to go into something better but i choose law for idiotic reasons

Anonymous said...

Well, like the rest of us here, your not dead yet so keep your head up.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, right. It's real tough.

You can find temp jobs that pay $2000-2400 per week.

With a little bit of effort (e.g., networking), you can land an associate position w/o to much of a hassle.


This rumor persists beacause a signifigant amount of attornies :

A) have no work ethic;

B) can't write and proof simple documents;

or

C) they're stupid.

These people can't hold down a job.

Just because you graduated from law school, you're not gaurantied a high paying job. You actually have to work, but by being an attorney you can make a lot more per hour.

Kay Sieverding said...

As you have probably read, there are really a lot of U.S. citizens per capita in jail. More than most other countries and the U.S. in the past. This costs of lot to the government both in direct costs and in indirect costs such as loss of taxes and required subsidies for raising their children.
Maybe the government should pay a reward for any lawyer who gets an incarcerated person out. I guess they do sort of when a suit for malicious prosecution is filed, but maybe it could be more straightforward and faster.

Anonymous said...

Kay- Most of those citizens incarcerated are just black, non-violent drug offenders, like we see on the street every day. The government has decided where they belong. They are hardly going to subsidize their release, thank goodness.

Anonymous said...

Drop out now. Thank me later.

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Anonymous said...

After reading this kind of glad I pursued my masters in accounting and my cpa license instead of going to law school. I spent five years in school and six months studying for the cpa exam and now at 29 and five years in public accounting earn six figures as an audit manager. Not too bad for a bean counter.

Anonymous said...

This is so true, and not only for these "t2" law schools. I graduated from Alabama, which, for what it is worth, is ranked usually in the top 30 in the USA. The employment post-graduation statistics here and almost everywhere are totally bogus. I graduated in the top 30% of my class, interview well, am well rounded, athletic, and fairly attractive. I have had no chance at getting a job. I'd take a temp lawyer job that pays $15/hr gladly.

To the dick who said its all about work ethic: you are full of shit. There simply are no jobs. There is no way to even get a foot in the door.

If anyone considering law school is reading this: DON'T DO IT. Unless you are getting into an Ivy league school, you will fail. Do anything instead. If you can fix air conditioners or something, do that. You'll make more money and be happier.

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smith said...

Most incoming law students have no idea what they are getting into and find the results of all of their hard work and skills stretched to the breaking point during their first year of law school.

considering law school

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