Monday, November 16, 2009
An Open Letter To Dean Richard "The Slimeball" Matasar
Attached is a copy of an email I sent to Richard Matasar at New York Law School. I'm forwarding it to you because I thought you might be interested in it, given your recent post on your blog about Access Group and Matasar.
Thanks and keep up the good work with the blog."
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, Nov 14, 2009 at 11:21 AM
Subject: Letter from an '02 almunus
Dear Mr. Matasar:
My name Is . I am a 2002 graduate of New York Law School, and I am admitted to practice in both New York and New Jersey.
I am writing to encapsulate and memorialize my disappointment with both you and New York Law School in general. I'm terribly disappointed with how my legal "career" has played out in the seven years since I graduated, and I was shocked and outraged to hear that you concurrently serve as Dean of NYLS AND as Chairman of the Access Group (a CLEAR conflict of interest that should be addressed by the ABA and New York Bar Ethics Committee).
In short, my NYLS degree is not worth the incredibly high price tag that I paid for it, using student loan funds I obtained from your Access Group. I was unable to ever obtain a permanent legal job that would pay me enough to both service my student loan debt and put food on my table. This was not for lack of trying; I utilized Attorney Resume and paid top dollar to have my resume written and gain access to almost 1,000 law firms' contact information, only to be rejected by EVERY firm to which I sent my resume. (That's correct: almost 1,000 REJECTIONS - both affirmative rejections and "trashcan rejections," where they didn't write back. Not even ONE interview.)
I contacted the NYLS "Career Services Department" in 2003 (in quotes because it's not really a Career Services Department, but a farce). They apologized that I was having problems and directed me to a link on the NYLS website to TEMP AGENCIES, under the guise of "Legal Recruiters." "Lots of our graduates do Contract Attorney work to hold them over until they can find permanent employment," they said. Little did I know what "Contract Attorney" work entailed, how horribly and disrespectfully I'd be treated, and how I'd ruin even the slightest chance I'd have to secure a permanent job with the albatross of "Contract Attorney" on my resume. But this was supposed to "hold me over," as per your "Career Services" department's assertion.
Since I was desperately in need of income in order to eat and service my debt to your Access Group, I contacted the temp agencies and was soon put to work for approximately $30 an hour. The conditions were reminiscent of a Third World sweatshop; there were over 100 "attorneys" stuffed into a dingy, poorly ventilated basement that was infested with cockroaches! And there were an inordinate amount of NYLS graduates on this job; I don't have an exact number, but I would estimate at least 15 or so.
This project lasted approximately three months, at which point it ended and I registered with several other agencies. I quickly was placed on another project that was worse than the first one, at a very prestigious downtown firm. We were shoved into a sub-sub basement, surrounded by mountains of dusty and dirty boxes, and made to review the contents of these boxes. Now I have no aversion to getting my hands dirty, but this was ridiculous, given the abuse we sustained at the hands of our supervisors. I won't go into more detail, but it was a terrible experience. And, once again, there were and inordinate number of NYLS graduates working with me.
These temporary jobs continued for five years. For five years, I bounced from one temporary job to another, some lasting for a few weeks, some lasting almost a year. No opportunity for advancement, no respect, no benefits (or at least benefits that were too expensive for me to afford, given I was being soaked by the Access Group each month and had other bills to pay.) Then the economic crisis of 2008 happened.
I completed my last (and possibly worst) temporary project in November 2008. Since then, I have been unable to land another temporary project. That's right, Mr. Matasar: I have been unemployed for ONE YEAR!! For one year, I've been collecting unemployment benefits and struggling to make my student loan payments to your Access Group.
In the past year, I've been frantically trying to find work, to no avail. I've sent out hundreds of resumes, to no avail. I even have an interesting story for you:
A college friend of mine works for Cognizant, a mobile communications technology company. Upon hearing of my plight, he asked me to give him my resume so he could forward it to his friend in the legal department. I hesitatingly did so, knowing in my heart and mind that I would be quickly rejected and laughed at because of all the Contract Attorney experience listed on my resume. (It has been my experience that Contract Attorney experience is a quick way to get your resume thrown into the trash in record time. I've heard several interesting justifications for this, including that Contract Attorney experience is an indicator that the candidate "didn't really want a permanent position." Meanwhile, Contract Attorney work was the ONLY work I could get that would allow me to earn enough money to survive and pay my debt to THE ACCESS GROUP. Can you say CATCH-22, Mr. Matasar?)
My prediction came true: my friend called me a few days after forwarding my resume and told me his friend in the legal department determined that I "didn't have the skill set" they needed. My friend pressed him to define exactly what he meant by "skill set," and he said the following (my friend actually took notes):
1) New York Law School is a joke, a farce. They don't even consider NYLS graduates for attorney positions. He might be able to get me an interview for a paralegal position though, but it's a long shot. (Mr. Matasar. I AM A LICENSED ATTORNEY, NOT A PARALEGAL!! I SPENT OVER $140,000 TO OBTAIN MY J.D. FROM NYLS AND I'M ADMITTED TO PRACTICE IN TWO JURISDICTIONS!!)
2) Contract Attorney work is GARBAGE. It's document review and can be done by "monkeys." It's not substantive legal experience, and is indicative of my not wanting to get a permanent job. (Meantime, I couldn't get any other work, as I've said. My friend even told him this, but it went in one ear and out the other.)
3) There was no way my friend's friend could forward my resume to his superior without looking foolish and being repremanded for wasting his superior's time.
So, Mr. Matasar, there you have it. I spent top dollar, which I borrowed from your ACCESS GROUP, to get my J.D. from NYLS and pass two bar exams, only to be shunted aside, marginalized, and humiliated by the legal industry. I am on the verge of bankruptcy and as of next month, I will be unable to continue making payments on my ACCESS GROUP student loans. I plan on writing a letter when the next payment is due, explaining that I didn't get what I paid for and was mislead by NYLS's job statistics prior to enrolling (NYLS misleads potential students with employment numbers - you include temporary Contract Attorneys as being fully employed at large firms, which is not the whole truth), and I'm suspending my payments. I am prepared and willing to face the legal wrath that will occur when I default, and I see it as a golden opportunity for me to expose both NYLS's fraud and your unethical conflict of interest
I plan on expressing my outrage at your conflict of interest, namely that you are concurrently the Dean of New York Law School AND the chairman of the Access Group. You thus have a VESTED INTEREST in continuing to mislead NYLS students, convincing them to take on huge amounts of debt from your ACCESS GROUP, which means you personally reap a double benefit. It's not right, and it's not fair. I can't believe you think this conflict is acceptable. It's so wrong, so unethical, and it needs to be addressed on a much bigger level than this email.