Wednesday, February 6, 2013

In the long run

A reader suggested I take a look at Hamilton Nolan's ongoing Gawker series of unemployment stories.  They make for harrowing reading, and a lot of them are from attorneys.  Here's one from somebody still in free fall from a spot near the top of the profession:

Two years ago I was on top of the world – at least from exterior appearances. Barely past 30, my salary was approximately a quarter million dollars per year, I was living in a luxury high rise with a view of Central Park from my balcony, and it seemed I was on the fast track to a successful career. Now 18 months after losing my job at the end of 2010, I've learned a lot of valuable life lessons but find myself wondering, constantly every day, is there any hope left? The Manhattan apartment is long-gone and replaced with a room at my father's house in the exurbs of Atlanta, a house I helped him buy five years ago. I've applied for over 750 jobs in the last year, but still I wait. This is my story.
We hear a lot of talk about the employment crisis these days, from both sides of our so-called political spectrum. No one has much in the way of solutions, and the options for the unemployed seem to be Republicans that tell me what I need is to have my unemployment cut off – then surely I'll be motivated to find a job. Democrats at least don't think starvation will improve my job hunt, but beyond affording me my luxurious life on unemployment, I hear scant dedication to anything that might actually improve the employment outlook. I remain a voracious consumer of news and from what I see and hear portrayed in the media, the unemployed in this country are generally older, often former factory workers. We hear much discussion of how to address these workers in a nation that may no longer offer employment they have experience in. I feel for these workers and don't mean to diminish their situations – but I was supposed to be exempt from that. In fact, based on what the media says, I don't exist. I attended an Ivy League college and a top 5 law school (at least according to US News' rankings). My first real job, which started shortly after my 25th birthday, paid a salary of $125,000. That salary had doubled within 5 years. I was lucky enough to have the chance to go to some of the top schools in America, and it seemed I was enjoying the rewards of obtaining such a pedigree. Then it ended...

The question I find myself grappling with these days is "is this the best we can do?" I've spent months focusing on not being jealous or angry, and I've largely succeeded. I really am happy for my friends that are having children, and going on vacations, and otherwise moving forward and living their lives. But is this a country where one false move (in my case, working at the wrong law firm) can essentially end your chance at a productive life? I admit I had an arrogance prior to my layoff – I never imagined this could happen to me. I was no conservative, and I sympathized with and believed we could and should do more to help the unfortunate in this country – but I never believed I would be in that situation myself. I was told from childhood on that a good education was the path to a better life – and that if you were willing and able to work hard and had something to contribute, you'd have opportunities in this country. Where are those opportunities?

The most striking thing to me during the coverage of the Occupy Movement last fall was the "counter-protestors" (read: miserable assholes) yelling things like "Get a job!" I would love one! As I mentioned previously, I've applied for over 750 jobs in the last 18 months and continue to apply for 30-100 jobs each month. I've applied for jobs at law firms, scores of jobs with the government, jobs at corporations, jobs at non-profits, jobs for lawyers, jobs for non-lawyers, jobs as a paralegal, jobs as a writer, jobs, jobs, jobs. I've applied for jobs from Seattle to Miami, from San Diego to Boston, and I've applied to jobs overseas. Have work? Will travel. Of course, while employment is improving marginally overall, it hasn't improved in the legal sector. Total legal employment is lower now than it was in 2008, despite the abundance of law schools in this country pumping out nearly 50,000 new lawyers each year. I admit that I have not yet applied to work in fast food or retail as I maintain the hope that somehow, some way, I'll eventually find a position which could eventually lead me back to a semblance of my old life. That said, I don't see an abundance of "Help Wanted" signs at McDonald's or Best Buy. The notion that people can just "Get a Job!" in this market is laughable. The government's own numbers pretend that over 8 million Americans have dropped out of the workforce in recent years; while you may know of someone that struck oil in their backyard and actually retired in their 30s or 40s, I'm confident most of these people are simply unable to find employment. I wonder how they afford food – I fear for my own future when unemployment is cut off. 

I continue to have some hope – I keep trying to tell myself that I have great experience and a great background, and eventually that will mean something to someone somewhere. I know I'm hard working - I billed well over 2000 hours as my mother died of cancer in 2009 because the firm expected nothing less. (For the non-lawyers reading, that translates to working 60+ hours most weeks.) I also wonder and worry about the larger country – if finding work is so hard and seemingly hopeless for someone with my background, someone barely into their 30s, what is it like for older workers with fewer credentials?

As another day starts in the exurbs, I sigh. It's another day of nothing. I'll look at the usual job boards. I'll read the 10+ emails I receive each morning with updated job listings. I'll head to the gym. But in general, another day will come and go and nothing will change. Maybe I'll receive a rejection letter or two. Maybe I'll find a new posting for a job that would be perfect – if only they decide to interview me. But really, I just wait. I watch the clock spin in circles. I watch my life pass me by. I wonder how much longer this can last. And I wait.

A few comments:

(1) The most glaring gap in the relevant data for people trying to figure out what the long-term value of law degrees actually is these days is that we have so little information on long-term career outcomes.  We have huge amounts of data -- much of it of dubious reliability, but still -- on immediate post-grad outcomes, which, as everyone outside the impenetrable special snowflake bubble now knows, look pretty awful.

But what about nine years after graduation as opposed to nine months?  One commenter on this site has posted dozens of comments about how law is a demographic pyramid, with fewer and fewer jobs available for middle-aged lawyers, and with rampant age discrimination simply being a standard feature of big firm and perhaps also in-house hiring and firing practices.  As far as I can tell this perspective is anecdotal, which certainly doesn't discredit it, but we clearly need a lot of longitudinal work done on the subject.  (Things such as this study of the UVA class of 1990 are a start, but obviously a snapshot of one 23-year-old elite law school's graduating class 17 years after graduation in 2007 throws a very limited light on the present overall situation).

(2) In particular, given that BigLaw is the only initial career option that makes any economic sense for anybody paying anything remotely close to sticker at about 75% of all law schools, we need more information on current as opposed to past exit options for BigLaw associates.  Of course only about 15% of current graduates will ever work in BigLaw, but the importance of this demographic for law schools can hardly be overstated.  Legal academics who complain about Kids Today thinking that a law degree should be a guarantee of a high-paying job need to answer this question: Why exactly does it make sense for anybody to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct and opportunity costs by going to your law school, unless doing so guarantees at least a reasonably good shot at acquiring at least a temporarily high-paying job for at least a reasonable amount of time?

Anyway, the "realistic" career path for students at the (12? 7? 4?) law schools that can still produce something resembling an actual answer to that question is:

(a) Top Law School

(b) Associate at V-whatever firm for X years, which will be dedicated to paying down debt and preparing for life post V-whatever firm.

(c) ???

How attractive (c) does or does not end up being for people currently in or considering law school is critical to the viability of what elite law schools are selling going forward, which in turn is for psychological/ideological reasons critical to the viability of what non-elite schools are selling, even though only a tiny minority of non-elite law school graduates will ever be on this particular career path.

(3)  A particularly critical benefit of their jobs that tenured legal academics tend to undervalue when they burble on about how they turned down lucrative careers for the vows of scholarly poverty is that their salaries don't have to be -- or haven't had to be until now -- discounted by any risk of falling to zero and staying there.  It's hard  to put a number on just how valuable that benefit is, not merely in terms of extrapolating income into the future, but in terms of the psychic benefit of not having  the shadow of possible economic disaster constantly falling on whatever career success a lawyer is currently enjoying.  This is just another way in which, as a practical matter, legal academics aren't really part of the legal profession at all.

Today, thinking like a lawyer means thinking a lot about what will happen if and when you lose your current job.  To the very limited extent that some legal academics may actually be starting to think about that, they are, in a sense, coming slightly closer to rejoining the profession they were so eager to escape.

246 comments:

  1. There is no crisis in the legal education industry. Don DeLuc at Cooley says so on the Cooley website:

    "A number of law school deans and I have been defending the value of a legal education against the cynics, the uninformed media, and the mean-spirited bloggers who cry out the supposed horrid future for legal education. Though the naysayers offer no supporting data, no comparison to other professions, and no reasoning, they assert that law school is a bad investment. Nearly all they say is wrong, much of it is intentionally misleading if not purposely false, and all of it is missing in context and perspective. There is no crisis in legal education any more than in other aspects of education."

    Incredible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

      Delete
    2. "No, YOU are an asshole who ruins countless young lives for personal gain."

      Delete
    3. Bernie Madoff was a pillar of morality compared to this guy.

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    4. Keep talking, Don. Keep talking. The more he talks, the greater the likelihood he makes that one, beautiful comment on the record that will both close Cooley and send him to the pokey.

      Delete
    5. Shawn, I was going to add to '"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"' the fact that it's even harder when he's not subject to any negative consequences for publicly denying it.

      Frankly, I'd bet against him ever bearing the consequences; the judiciary has weighed in quite firmly, placing law schools in the ranks of 'not subject to the law'.

      Delete
    6. "I triple guarantee you, there are no American tanks in Baghdad."

      Delete
    7. "Though the naysayers offer no supporting data, no comparison to other professions, and no reasoning, they assert that law school is a bad investment. Nearly all they say is wrong, much of it is intentionally misleading if not purposely false, and all of it is missing in context and perspective."

      Can we - LawProf, Nando, and every "cynic" who comments on this blog - file a class action defamation claim? Obviously, the schools aren't subject to fraud law (b/c HOW IS THIS NOT FRAUDULENT CONDUCT?!), but maybe they'll be more receptive to the fact that he's spreading falsehoods about third parties?

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    8. He is already is being sued by Jeff Kurzon for making false statements about him, and it looks fairly serious:

      http://abovethelaw.com/2012/07/law-school-litigation-update-kurzon-llp-sues-cooley-law-school-for-defamation/

      Kurzon sued the Huffington Post and helped to get the law school litigation off the ground. He is well respected in New York, well funded, and wants to make LeDuc pay for running his mouth and essentially making things up about Kurzon and his firm.

      Delete
  2. There is no crisis in legal education any more than in other aspects of education.

    Now that sounds ominous... :D

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  3. "Let them imbibe on two buck chuck!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.bumwine.com/

      Call them bum wines, street wines, fortified wines, wino wines, or twist-cap wines.

      Whatever you call these beverages for the economical drunkard, this page explores the top five.

      So curl up on a heating duct and enjoy...

      Delete
    2. Cisco Red is a friend of mine.

      Delete
    3. Classic website!

      Delete
  4. "Today, thinking like a lawyer means thinking a lot about what will happen if and when you lose your current job. To the very limited extent that some legal academics may actually be starting to think about that, they are, in a sense, coming slightly closer to rejoining the profession they were so eager to escape."

    Amen. I'm 10 years out, with great experience, a great resume, and having worked at two great firms. A day I don't bill 8 hours (and, having just moved to the second firm, that's most days), or a stretch of a couple days without a phone call from a new client, and I start losing sleep. And I am, without a doubt or any exaggeration, one of the lucky ones.

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  5. Yale and Penn suing their former students
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-02-05/student-loan-bubble-forces-yale-penn-sue-their-own-students

    Cites a bloomberg article about these schools suing their Undergraduate students.

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  6. Heeeeeeeeeeelp! Theres a huuuuuuge rotten "Seton Hall Law" clogging up the office toilet! All of the janitor's powers seem useless against it!

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  7. Well, at least it sounds like he paid off his student loans - which puts him in a better position than many. Also, how does this guy afford a gym membership?

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    Replies
    1. I agree. He's also young enough to start on a new career, learn a trade, etc. He needs to accept that his JD is worthless, discard the upper middle class dream, and move on with his life. Once he makes that psychological break, he will be happier.

      That's not to say that his observations about the structural changes in the employment market for educated folk are off-base, they are not. And his despair is understandable. But his situation could be much worse, assuming his school loans are paid off. And if they are not, I would be curious to know why.

      Delete
    2. He should have a ton of money saved after several years of working at a six figure plus job.

      Delete
    3. "He should have a ton of money saved after several years of working at a six figure plus job."

      He might well have a lot of money save up (after working at a six figure job minus paying off student loans). He's probably burned through that money.

      Delete
    4. He's living at his father's house hopefully contributing somewhat to the expenses but other than that he still should have a lot of money put aside.

      Delete
  8. You know what, I just can't feel sorry for this guy. I know I'm supposed to, but hit egregious sense of entitlement just kills it for me.

    He says:

    "I admit that I have not yet applied to work in fast food or retail as I maintain the hope that somehow, some way, I'll eventually find a position which could eventually lead me back to a semblance of my old life."

    Screw you. Sorry you lost your high-rise with a view of Central Park. Boo hoo. Man up, swallow your pride and look for work that's "beneath you." That's what I did, and I'm not the only one.

    Meanwhile this schmuck, who by his own admission pulled down well over a million dollars during his term in BigLaw is now living on my dime, which I send to the fed by working my crappy job, which I did not think would be the result of going to law school.

    There are jobs out there, they just aren't jobs you *want*. Welcome to being a grown up in a dismal economy.

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    1. *his egregious sense...

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    2. I kind of agree with you. When I was unemployed after school, I worked a dozen crappy jobs through a temp agency, usually more than 60 hours per week at multiple jobs because you do what you have to do to make ends meet, you know? I had friends who sat on their asses, spending 16 hours a day on reddit and drowning in self pity. (How does this solve anything, guys?) When I finally did get an interview at a lawyering job, the hiring attorneys asked what I had been doing during the "gap" on my resume. I told them about all of the jobs I had been working, and I bet it made me sound a lot more employable than whatever I would have said if I had been unemployed and searching for a prince to rescue me for two years.

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    3. "I bet it made me sound a lot more employable than whatever I would have said if I had been unemployed and searching for a prince to rescue me for two years."

      The thing is, it really doesn't. I'm currently in the unemployed malaise. My number one fear of getting a bill-paying job is that it'll make me untouchable compared to the legion of law grads who are sitting at home "taking pro bono cases" or "networking" full-time.

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    4. It is important to welcome voices like this. The reason the law school scam could expand for so long is the embarrassment of qualified lawyers who don't have a law career and their understandable desire to save face.

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    5. Here's something to think about: why are stories like this guy's even happening? Imagine someone working in a field (law, or pick your favourite) for a decade, making some salary, building experience and generally improving themselves and their workplaces. Now imagine they, involuntarily, no longer work in that field. Despite experience, personally connections and numerous job applications, they cannot find work in this field. Why is this happening?

      That's a bigger problem.

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    6. You guys are insane. If the best and the brightest (ie this guy) cannot succeed, what chance do the rest of us have?

      I dont see a sense of entitlement at all. I see a travesty of an economy where you cant get ahead period.

      Delete
    7. "Screw you. Sorry you lost your high-rise with a view of Central Park. Boo hoo. Man up, swallow your pride and look for work that's "beneath you." That's what I did, and I'm not the only one."

      I'm so sick of this argument. With his background, McDonald's wouldn't touch him in a million years. They would feel too threatened to hire someone this skilled. I went on an interview for a $15.00/hr job which is half of my salary and lower skilled than my previous work. I was willing to take it but the the interviewer said to me, "Why would you want this job at $15.00/hr? How are you going to support your family?" I told him that I had support from my sig other. Still, no cigar. It's that way. I would shovel cat poop at $8.00/hr - and I do, by the way for free, volunteering. It's ridiculous that we are creating an atmosphere where people are expected to be perfect. Perfect with their finances, perfect with their credentials, perfect fit for the job, perfect timing, perfect age, perfect background, perfect looks, perfect dress, perfect health. This is stifling, it is killing our economy, our creativity, ability to learn and get new skills, flexibility, and our entrepreneurship. As a society, we might as well cut to the chase and build human looking Cylons. Let's just get it over with now. Might as well, because no human being will be able to fill the giant pair of shoes our society is creating.

      Delete
  9. God bless the legal profession, where often enough even when you (momentarily) win, you still (ultimately) lose.

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  10. An unfortunate secret is that many lawyers hate BigLaw jobs. Well, it's not a secret among practicing lawyers, but it seems to be a secret among law students and potential law students. When I use the word "hate," I mean people hate those jobs more than anything else they ever have hated or ever will hate in their lives short of debilitating illnesses, evil ex-spouses or other personal tragedies.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. What is there to dislike about working 80-90 hours a week in a pressure cooker atmosphere, with next to no personal life because you have to be billing out your time constantly?

      Can't imagine why anyone would hate it...

      Delete
    2. I hated BigLaw, and I feel that the word "hate" is overused.

      80+ hours worked regularly, inability to ever make plans, odd fake deadlines, lawyers who don't really know anything, horrible personalities, rampant insecurity, competition for the sake of competition.

      I'm glad I did it, because now I have almost no debt, though I now make less than half what I once did. I still work 60+ hour weeks, but there's a big quality of life difference between working 65 hour weeks and working 85 hour weeks.

      Delete
    3. When I was 25, I landed a nice job. One week in, managing partner calls me into his office. "I like you alot. So I'm going to do you a favor. Get out now, while you can... you have alot of talent, and don't belong here." Basically, he said in four years, he'd fire me if he had to. Took me a year, but I left the firm; went into startup world, building software (attitude -- "just like the bar exam"). Landed at few places that blew up my career because it taught me the culture of hackathons, pure-energy-startup, make-something-that-generates-revenue. You can't teach that instinct ("we need an app for that? Let's light this roman candle... code it ourselves".) Today, he's a judge. Sometimes we have lunch and laugh about it. I say "thank you" (and buy him lunch).

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  11. I am certain that his experience, the versatility of his degree and the absolute lack of foundation for the idea that employers dislike hiring out-of-work attorneys will get him into that well-paying job soon. After all, lawyers are leaders and problem-solvers, and why wouldn't anyone hire one of those?

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    Replies
    1. You forgot to tell him to NETWORK.

      :)

      Delete
  12. you won't find a bigger hater of the law school scam than me, and I feel badly for his fall from grace, but it seems like its time for this guy to learn a new skill. go back to school for two years for finance, stats, math, econ. there are plenty of jobs that pay at least 40-60k in NY, Boston, SF, LA, Chi for smart people that can analyze data.

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    1. So in his early 30s, he's going to go do what, exactly? Get an MBA/accounting degree/etc.? So that in his late 30s, he'll be competing for consulting/accounting gigs?

      And it's darn near impossible to make it on 40k in those cities with multiple levels of educational debt, even if the jobs are there (I'm not convinced they are).

      Delete
    2. I don't know who is worse, the folks who think $250K is middle class, or those who disdain living as a 30 year-old single on $40K in Chicago - an amount comparable to that city's median household income, which includes people with decades of experience and households with more than one worker.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Chicago

      Delete
    3. It is all relative to costs. In New York City, two experienced teachers for the public school system who are a household will be at at least $216,000, and maybe more. That is middle class in New York City. Don't forget the teachers get huge pension benefits. The lawyers get none.

      Delete
    4. @9:35:

      You rephrased the hypo. Chicago is an expensive city to live in *with significant educational debt.*

      40k is great for the single yuppies in their mid 20s, the mid-level Democract machine worker, or the small businessman who lives a block away from where he works.

      You try doing it with any sort of dependents or debt and without help from mommy and daddy and you'll be broke rather quickly.

      Delete
  13. Re long-term prospects for BigLaw lawyers: FWIW, I'm involved in associate development in my mid-law firm, and I keep track of the paths taken by associates whom we encourage to look elsewhere because they're not likely to ever make partner here. Luckily, no one has left here who wasn't able -- eventually -- to find a decent job practicing law. I think this is partly because my partners and I use our networks to help departing associates find positions elsewhere in the region. However, the time it takes to find another spot has *dramatically* increased since 2007. This is especially true for senior associates, possibly because bringing in a senior-associate lateral is so disruptive to the associate ecosystem in a traditional firm.

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  14. No doubt whatsoever that law firms discriminate based on your age. Older attorneys don't take as much crap from supervising attorneys, are more outspoken, have family obligations, do not have the drive to consistently work 60+ hour weeks, etc.
    Why take an apple that's fallen on the ground and is rotting if you can pluck a nice fresh one from the tree?

    In addition to LawProfs other observations, be very careful about going to law school if you are over 30.

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    Replies
    1. And this makes law firms different than all other U.S. employers how?

      Delete
  15. Thanks to the above poster for posting LeDuc's comments. (In the comments section on Cooley's website.) It makes for eye-opening reading - Cooley's take on the unemployment crisis. According to LeDuc, there really isn't an unemployment issue. I wish he would talk to his own graduates - he would find otherwise. I personally know several Cooley graduates, and many are working in non-legal positions for $10 an hour or less. It's obvious LeDuc doesn't spend too much time talking to his own students. I guess he wouldn't really want to hear what they have to say.

    The OP's post really hit a nerve with me. As someone who had an illustrious background with an excellent, 18-year work history, I, too, thought I would never be unemployed, yet here I am and like the poster, I have applied to about 750 jobs. My jobs, too, have varied, from lawyer jobs (I don't apply to those anymore because ALL want at least 2 years of experience and I recently graduated law school) to paralegal jobs, to legal secretary, receptionist, and assistant jobs, to teaching positions, to program manager and developer jobs, to outreach coordinator positions, public interest, social work jobs, etc. - I try to make my qualifications stretch as far as possible to fit the jobs I am applying for. As the poster said, it's jobs, jobs, jobs, but there really is no point. In 7 months, I have gotten 2 interviews and neither came from the jobs I applied to but were referrals from past employers. It's so discouraging to keep trying when you know the result will just be the same: more rejection. That being said, what other alternative do I have? So I have to keep doing something that has proven unfruitful, even when I know it will result in the same.

    My major frustration is when some idiot decides that you must be unemployed because you haven't tried hard enough. They mean well: "Have you tried applying as a TEACHER at the university?" They say this all innocent and wide-eyed, as if they just hit upon a great idea that I, in my months of job searching, have never tried. Me: "Yes, 17 times, in fact. All positions wanted a specific Masters in the subject I was applying for (English, Criminal Justice, Writing, Foreign languages, etc. - not a law degree) plus 5 years experience working in that area. My law degree doesn't cover that and of course, I don't have 5 years' experience, but I applied anyway. I was hoping they would overlook my lack of qualifications." They can't believe that some with a law degree is not qualified because to them, the law degree is the end-all of everything. Because they haven't had the experience of looking in this job market, they are completely unaware of how specific employers currently are in their demand for experience.

    They will continue to suggest things for me to try that I tried months ago at the beginning of my job search. Them: "Have you ever tried applying for PARALEGAL positions? Have you looked out-of-state?" I want to respond with "No, asshole - that's a brilliant suggestion! I never thought of that! Paralegal! Out of state! Why, in the last 7 months, I restricted myself to only applying for the 3 lawyer jobs advertised in my state that each required 7 years experience. No wonder I'm still unemployed! But paralegal positions or looking for jobs in another state - now that's a brilliant strategy!" As if the answer to my getting employed all along was as simple as applying to the place they thought of and that my reason for being unemployed was simply because I hadn't thought of it myself! Implicit in their belief is that I am unemployed because of something I am lacking in my effort - not because the job market is bad and people don't want people without specific experience.

    I know this is bad, but sometimes, I wish that what I was going through would hit them, so that they would know how bad the market was and would understand what I am facing.

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    1. "According to LeDuc, there really isn't an unemployment issue. I wish he would talk to his own graduates - he would find otherwise."

      Counsel, you are assuming facts not in evidence - that LeDuc cares in the slightest about what happens to Cooley graduates, so long as his paychecks still clear the bank.

      Delete
  16. 6:58 -- They are trying to make themselves feel better, telling themselves it will never happen to them because they are hard working.

    6:58 and Gawker guy -- Sending resumes to posted jobs is a waste of time unless it's an ultra-local job board. The time it took to send 750 resumes would have been better spent trying to drum up business.

    On this, I can speak from experience. If I troll for business, sooner or later I will land a paying client. Meanwhile, sending resumes has landed me zero interviews with employers.

    I stopped sending resumes a year ago and focus only on landing clients. I'm not good at it, but effort that yields minor results is better than effort that yields no results.


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    1. Not true. In the area where I practice, sending resumes out to posted jobs does result in interviews and jobs. If you need to target large established employers because of your expertise, most large employers have a policy of posting jobs and filling at least some jobs from posting. If you go outside that system, and need to target large employers, you may end up with a temporary job. That is my experience. Every offer I got of a full time permanent job in the last 10 years (I got three of these offers) came from a posting, either by a company or a headhunter.

      Delete
  17. @7:08 p.m.

    The people who do not take a menial job are acting rationally.

    Most white-collar employers, especially law firms, will recoil at an applicant who is currently holding a low-status job. "Something must be wrong with them," they'll think.

    It makes sense to hold out as long as possible before stigmatizing yourself.

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  18. Don LeDuc is a pig. Apparently, he believes that "institutions of higher education" should be able to manipulate data and ruin LEGIONS of students each year, without anyone calling the bastards out. What a beacon of integrity, huh?!

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  19. >> That said, I don't see an abundance of "Help Wanted" signs at McDonald's or Best Buy.

    I see a lot of help wanted signs at those kind of places.

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  20. An initial question is whether the structure of law firms that actually provide an income sufficient to discharge law school debt affords long term career prospects for most graduates of top law schools.

    The numbers (500,000 legal jobs outside of solo practice, 113,000 jobs in the top 250 law firms) suggest that large law firms make up a high proportion of the lawyer jobs that will pay enough to discharge debt.

    There are about 62,000 in house jobs, many of which will pay enough to discharge law school debt. If a lawyer does not live in Washington DC, a government job, let alone one that pays enough to discharge law school debt, will be hard to come by.

    The law firms that pay a wage sufficient to discharge the cost of going to law school have experience caps on staying employed for most lawyers. Few lawyers with 15 or more years of experience are allowed to stay employed in these law firms. Almost all the help wanted ads or career sites for these law firms have experience caps that make lawyers with more than 15 years experience (and often more than 2, 5 or 8 years experience) not qualified for the job.

    In house, it is hard to get a job after one's 40s and hard to hold a job after age 50 without a promotion to a managerial position. A reasonable number of lawyers from large law firms get in house jobs. The question is how long these jobs last, and what experience level of lawyers generally have these jobs. If 75% of in house lawyers are in their 30s and 40s, where does a lawyer go after that? Also with 62,000 places and maybe 90,000 large law firm jobs that will turn over over 7 or 8 years, there are not enough in house jobs for lawyers leaving large law firms.

    Solo practice as a career option is a last resort for most lawyers, to be used only when they cannot get jobs. There are some exceptions where solos start small but successful firms. Firms that pay even six figures may be a small percentage of the total of smaller firms.

    One way to verify whether the career path for even the T4, T7 or T14 law schools, let alone other good law schools in the T30 or so, makes any sense is to ask the law schools to get data, along the same line as 9 month data.

    Another way is to force the state agencies that require lawyers to register to make available demographic information for survey purposes and then have a surveyor call a sample of lawyers who graduated from top schools in the last 40 years (the sample could be alphabetical, for example) to verify whether or not they are employed, whether they have an office outside of their home, if their work is permanent, temporary, part time or catch as catch can, whether they voluntarily retired, whether they are seeking work, all the same questions as the first years are asked, and then publish at least that sample.

    The top law schools have long ignored their experienced grads who are not making a living as lawyers, or working as temps or solos, or out of their homes. The top law schools owe their community answers on long term employment outcomes, in a profession with 1.4 million law grads, a number which is increasing by 45,000 every year, and only 500,000 real legal jobs outside of solo practice.

    Any survey should ask if the lawyer is female or minority, since sex and minority status anecdotally is highly correlated with the probability of a lawyer earning an income sufficient to pay off the cost of going to law school.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Point (3) - the value of the security that tenure provides is so unrecognised. I am increasingly surprised that a professor usually gets a pay raise when they get tenure - surely it should be a cut of maybe 1/3

    After a few years in practice lawyers develop a somewhat perverse stress reaction. We relax when snowed with work and under hugh pressure, and become tense and despondent the moment we have a chance in principle to relax. The fear of having no work and thus no job or income is so acute after 1-2 years that any opportunity to kick back and relax is frightening ... I should be working 60 hours a week - if I have a 30 hour week - "oh god ... it's all over." And so I take calls at 2-3am (the do not disturb feature on the Apple iPhone is no good for lawyers.) I work when I should be grieving, or celebrating ... I never feel comfortable saying I cannot do it this week to a client.

    And as you more up, you think - assistant D has 4 kids and a new mortgage, and R has a kid and another on the way, and M just got married ... and we need to keep this show rolling so we can pay these people.

    The job, the work is not a source of stress - I love practicing law - but the insecurity!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But insecurity of employment is not just for lawyers. Anyone who works without tenure can be fired.

      Delete
  22. The saga described in the OP, and not the over supply of law schools, is the existential crisis being faced by the legal profession.

    While the process will be messy, the market will eventually correct and the number of law schools seats will fall into some semblance of correlation with the number of available jobs.

    The bigger issue, however, is the continuing existence of law as an esteemed profession. With the structural changes taking place in the economy, it seems pretty apparent that the profession is not going to be able to support the same proportion of high-paying, high-prestige jobs as it has in the past. And, once this becomes clear, doomsday is nigh.

    At the top end of the prestige scale, the loss of lots of cushy law prof jobs for HYS grads and the substantial shrinking of BigLaw careers will eventually mean that highly qualified would-be law school applicants to T20 schools are going to look elsewhere. This trend will also be helped along by the increasing realization that lots of BigLaw "careers" mean toiling in doc review hell with no prospect of advancement. Who the hell is going to incur the cost/debt/workload of three years even at a top school to spend years and years as a staff attorney coding documents? At least in past years, the BigLaw model allowed for the meaningful possibility of advancement.

    Perhaps the merciless logic of the market will not be defeated, but if the profession stands idle while BigLaw -- its flagship -- descends further and further into drudgery and dead ends, this profession is going to be very different in 10 or 20 years.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This guy should be presentable with his background? Maybe he could get a job as a bartender in a bar that serves a lot of lawyers and businessmen and get to know the regular customers. Then in the day he could try and find legal organizations in Atlanta to make contacts with as well. And does his undergraduate and law school have alumni organizations in Atlanta? Sending out resumes to firms and placement services seems to be a waste of time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem is that there is a glut of former BigLaw associates/ counsel /partners unemployed in each practice area. The first few could find a place in solo practice while they waited out unemployment. Now it's a deluge of unemployed lawyers. If you are an house lawyer and getting solicitations for work every few weeks from lawyers, what do you think is going to happen? Effectively there is a "Do Not Call List/ Do Not E-Mail List /Do Not Send a Summary of Current Developments in Your Area of the Law" among in house lawyers and other legal employers as applied unemployed lawyers because there are so many former Biglaw solos seeking work. Lawyers who are working in positions responsible for hiring are inundated with requests for employment of any type from other lawyers.

      The chances of this guy making it as a solo in a glutted market? Not so great.

      Delete
    2. "Then in the day he could try and find legal organizations in Atlanta to make contacts with as well. And does his undergraduate and law school have alumni organizations in Atlanta? "

      If you were betting on whether or not he's done that, which side would you take?

      Delete
    3. Believe it or not, 18 months would be a typical period of unemployment. A colleague got a job after over 2 years of unemployment. During the 2 years, he/ she functioned as a solo. Another spent probably 5 years as a solo before getting a job. This was in the past. If anything, the oversupply is worse now, so it is not clear that being a solo works for many lawyers formerly at Biglaw.

      Delete
  24. The ONLY ones helped by this country's law school accreditation and financing policies are law faculty.

    The policies hurt the bar.

    They hurt recent graduates.

    They hurt taxpayers.

    They hurt professionalism.


    Why does the bar tolerate the ABA? Why does the bar tolerate law schools?

    Forget the law schools. Take entry into the profession back from the law schools. Shut them down. Make fewer, better lawyers. Re-establish a profession for crying out loud.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But think of the minority students! White people will only train other white people! Men will only take on male apprentices! The horror!

      That will be the argument, never mind the fact that it would be a massive case of the pot calling the kettle black if law schools were to anticipatorily accuse the bar of being unethical. I happen to think there would be strong demand for smart people of all genders and colors, same as there is in ANY OTHER BUSINESS THAT DOESN'T REQUIRE THREE YEARS OF FINISHING SCHOOL FIRST!

      Delete
    2. Nope, wrong.

      Universities are also helped. Most law schools are taxed to subsidize the unprofitable parts of the university.

      That's why new for-profit standalone law schools are so strongly opposed.

      Basically, only B-schools, law schools and a few athletic departments make money. They have to subsidize Art, English, Philosophy, expensive lab sciences that don't generate grants, etc.

      Delete
  25. The ABA solicits views on how to improve legal education:

    http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/legal_education_and_admissions_to_the_bar/2012_task_force_future_legaled_comments_request.authcheckdam.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  26. Where is the old lady that graduated from Columbia? This is her time to shine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are numerous "old" ladies who graduated from Columbia Law School, went to work at BigLaw and now have no job and are seeking. Some of these "old" ladies are in their 20s, 30s or 40s, and some older. That is old if you are in your early 20s, of course. Ask the temporary agencies in New York how many applicants they have from Columbia and NYU Law grads, and how many are female. In fact the temporary agencies in New York have many more applicants from Columbia and NYU grads (surprise, many of them females over the age of 26) that they cannot fill.

      Delete
    2. 900: don't be so sensitive. Someone recently referred to me as "in your day". Ya gotta laugh. I would have said the same thing about a 61 year old when I was at NYU Law in the mid 70s. I'm glad to be "old", in good health and arguably of competent mind.

      Delete
    3. There's definitely one specific old lady from Columbia that likes to comment here and that is to whom I was referring.

      Delete
  27. There is an interesting article in Cornell's student newspaper about employment for Cornell 3Ls.

    They interview one student who is going to work at Davis Polk. Another is going to work at a midlaw firm in Hartford, Ct., and a third is going to work for the Comptroller of Currency.
    http://www.cornellsun.com/section/news/content/2013/02/06/law-school-students-reflect-job-hunt


    Looks like Cornellians are taking jobs that would have trickled down the employment scale during the 'before times.' The article suggests that there are numerous Cornellians without employment right now.

    What happens to the Syracuse/Case Western/Tulane/Depaul/Cooley grads as this shift continues?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I went to work for a midlaw frim in a city smaller than Harftord Ct during the dot-com boom.

      I knew that I had no interested in working in NYC or DC biglaw because they were known meat grinders. Some of the partners there were clearly BigLaw refugess in the sense that they could do much better there with respect to partnership.

      Also, I know of one excellent BigLaw litigation associate who was on partner track who bailed to work for a reduced hour/reduced salary FedGovJob in DC.

      So, what I'm saying here is that *these are the jobs T14 BigLaw associates take* when they don't want to be in BigLaw any more.

      To the extent that T14 students are taking these jobs now, it's just where a lot of them end up there anyway, which is why we *need a longitudinal study of legal career outcomes over time*.

      Delete
    2. Just like you, a colleague of mine went to work nearby in a midsized law firm in a second tier Connecticut city. Quit a good in house job to go there. The law firm job lasted under a year - due to lack of demand for that type of work. The colleague tried solo practice and made no money, and now is temping, if and when the colleague can get work. So whether it works out in that job - there needs to be a demand for the service.

      Similar result for a second colleague who went to work for a law firm after quitting a good in house job that actually may not have lasted long term. The colleague lost the law firm job and is unemployed.

      The problem is the insecurity of these law firm jobs in a market where there is a lot of overcapacity.

      Delete
  28. 7:33,
    BLS says there's 728,000 lawyer jobs as of 2010.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That number includes about 228,000 solos as I understand it.

      Delete
    2. Occupational outlook does not include self-employed OR partners actually.

      http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/ocwage_03272012.pdf

      Delete
    3. Stop de-railing my thread there JP ;)

      Seriously though, if the 728K doesn't include solos or partners it definitely suggests a different picture.

      Delete
    4. The 728,000 figure does include partners and solos. It doesn't include judges, law professors, or presidents of the United States.

      Delete
    5. Even if you add 30,000 or 50,000 partner jobs to the 500,000 employed lawyers, these are not good numbers for 1.4 million law grads where the number of grads is increasing by 45,000 a year. You are not going to have 45,000 retirements a year. Only 17,000 lawyers graduated in each class 40 years ago. Even if you say the net increase is 38,000, you get 100,000 plus increase in the number of law grads each year.

      Delete
    6. LP,
      Do you have a link to the BLS methodology to confirm that? Happy to concede my link is in error if that's the case.

      Delete
    7. 9:04,
      You're missing the point of this particular post. This post addresses the outcomes for that narrow subset that gets Biglaw and their options are not the same as say, at a minimum, those in the bottom 100 schools so the 45K grads isn't really relevant to this subset.

      Delete
    8. Oh, No!

      My optimistic comment was poofed into oblivion!

      Delete
    9. hehe, I know, and now I look like a crazy person talking to ghosts :)
      8:49

      Delete
    10. And yes, it did kind of take away from the sheer doom and gloom of this blog, so it was definitely off message.

      Delete
    11. No worries, I'm just curious about the link that indicates the BLS stat includes partners and self-employed (solos).

      Delete
    12. Lawprof: and we know that President of the US gig is good at most for 8 years.

      Delete
  29. for a well reasoned response see: http://www.law.du.edu/index.php/admissions/learn/choosing-denver-law-myths-v.-facts

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The amount of bullshit these people try to pull is startling. Can we get them for fraud when they put EFFORT in the scamming by throwing endless statistics in a mish-mash to make a ridiculous argument work?

      "Individuals and companies increasingly need support from lawyers."

      "A large cohort of baby boomer lawyers put off retirement due to the Great Recession, but will likely retire in the next few years."

      "Critics of law schools argue that the salaries commanded by new lawyers do not justify the cost of law school as an economic matter. But these critics make two serious economic mistakes. First, they do not ask the critical question: Compared to what? As with unemployment rates, any meaningful salary analysis requires you to look at what you would be doing if you were not a lawyer. Second, these critics rarely look at salary differentials over a lifetime of employment. Looking at comparative salaries over a lifetime of employment, a career in law is a good investment."

      "This analysis suggests that an investment in Denver Law is an excellent one. If you compare the Denver Law average starting salary to the average starting salary of a person with only a bachelor’s degree, the average Denver Law graduate makes $27,935 more per year.[27] And if you extend that difference over the course of a 40 year career (assuming the difference does not grow, which as noted above is unlikely), the current value of that difference is over $500,000 – double the $250,000 investment.[28]"

      "there’s no better time than the present to make an investment in a Denver Law degree."

      F****** CRIMINALS.

      Delete
    2. "Employment projects that there will be roughly 550 lawyer job openings per year over the next few years."

      "In 2012, roughly 1,000 people passed the Colorado bar exam."

      Delete
  30. @7:48

    "This guy should be presentable with his background? Maybe he could get a job as a bartender in a bar that serves a lot of lawyers and businessmen and get to know the regular customers. Then in the day he could try and find legal organizations in Atlanta to make contacts with as well."

    Yes, we all know that lawyers and businessmen are eager to hire their bartenders to do their business work. There's a line in front of the bartenders forming right now...

    There is currently a record number of unemployed, seasoned attorneys. Of course, lawyers and businessmen aren't going to choose from THEM - we all know they are going to go straight for the bartenders...

    I don't mean to be rude, but sometimes the quality of comments on this board...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, what would you do? Constructive suggestions perhaps?

      Delete
    2. People simply don't want to believe that we've built an economy with no place for [top undergrad] -> [top law school] -> 5 years experience.

      but we've done it. pat yourselves on the back, people. We're a first-world society that had made elite education entirely superfluous. And of course, a shout-out goes to BigLaw, who would rather hire 25-year-olds with no experience than put this guy to work for equal pay.

      Delete
    3. "Well, what would you do?"

      Get the hell of out law like it's a burning building full of hungry rapid zombies.

      Delete
    4. America's middle class is dead. Murdered by greed, outsourcing, profit maximizing, union featherbedding, rule promulgating, low cost shopping, self interest seeking, community declining, debt funding, buy-now-pay-later enabling, government bloating, busy-body regulating policies.

      Congratulations to everyone, and I mean everyone, in this 'country' that made it happen.

      We finally killed the goose that laid golden eggs.

      Delete
    5. Let this epitaph be carved on America's headstone a few decades from now:

      "WE DID IT TO OURSELVES"

      Delete
    6. United States of America: 1776 -- 202? Conceived in liberty, died by suicide.

      Delete
  31. 7:41 --

    You are God's perfect snowflake.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Re applications up at 4 law schools: Looks like Montana is one of them.

    http://www.montanakaimin.com/news/article_7ba1dd74-701e-11e2-be1d-001a4bcf6878.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should point out that tuition for in-state is $11,000.
      ----
      Freeman believes the consistent number of Montana residents stems from the UM School of Law's in-state tuition, high bar passage rates, and more consistent job placements in the legal industry, which is perhaps why UM was ranked number seven in this year's Top 10 Best Value Law School.

      In-state tuition to UM’s School of Law is about $11,000 a year, Freeman said. Out-of-state students pay about $27,000.

      “Even our out-of-state tuition is a good deal compared to many school’s in-state tuition,” Freeman said. “Tuition overall is a good deal.”

      Delete
  33. I wish that the TLS people would understand that this could happen to them after biglaw. They feel that it is a very unlikely outcome, because people do get other jobs.

    The lack of data is the real problem here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I disagree. This guy was damn lucky, he made plenty over the course of the 5 (?) years he worked there and probably paid off this loans entirely (or at least he should have with this amount of money).

      Okay, now he's 30 and has no job and is probably overqualified for menial jobs. It's time to get another degree and learn a different skill. Maybe medicine or engineering this time.

      This is our future, we'll all have to switch careers and retrain every few years.

      Delete
    2. "This is our future, we'll all have to switch careers and retrain every few years."

      Given the ever-increasing cost of education (not to mention the cost of everything else), good luck to this or future generations ever being able to marry or have children.

      Delete
    3. Not to mention he was working during the time when Biglaw bonuses were huge!

      Delete
    4. Yeah, his tuition should've been lower too. It seems like he should have a decent nest egg put away.

      Delete
    5. If this guy has no loans, he's way ahead of most other lawyers. Sucks to go from riches to rags, but he can start rebuilding without a crushing anchor around his neck.

      Can at least feed himself.

      Delete
    6. +1

      You could go to Microsoft and be unemployed/able in a few short years.

      Go to Apple and maybe they're just the MSFT of 2005.

      Or Google, and they're just the MSFT of 2000.

      There are few or no guarantees of employment in America.

      Delete
  34. I wonder what practice area this guy was in??? I'm guessing general commercial litigation..

    ReplyDelete
  35. LawProf/DJM:

    A request for a future post: can either of you or both check out LeDuc's posting on Cooley's website under the 'comments' section near the bottom of the page. LeDuc has been making periodic posts and his posts make Lawrence Mitchell seem like a scamblogger.

    It would be highly gratifying to see such self-serving nonsense refuted.

    Thankyou.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "In sum, there has never been a better time to attend law school."

      01/29/13

      Delete
  36. -"Republicans that tell me what I need is to have my unemployment cut off – then surely I'll be motivated to find a job."

    -"I admit that I have not yet applied to work in fast food or retail."

    Maybe those Republicans are on to something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find a perverse pleasure in the current state of the legal market and the white collar market as a whole.

      I chose a lower tiered LS so I would not have any debt, and I have a decent Job (for now). I do not think there was any real chance of me making what this guy made on account of my lacking the proper pedigree.

      Yet, I find no pleasure, not one fucking ounce, in his current perdiacment, nor do I think a person as accomplished as that should have to work a retail job.

      This profession and the white collar world deserves the hell that's coming with all of the envious little vipers that currently call it home. I was talking to an NYPD cop who patrols East NYC about Nassau cop salaries. I asked him what he thought about the fact that his job was infinitely more dangerous, yet he makes half the money. He replied, "I don't have a problem, as that job is tough for reasons XYZ, and I make a decent living to, we all need to stick together."

      You see, what this guy with a community college education understands is that once you fuck with the top, everyone is going to get sucked in the long run.

      People with alot of power in legal hiring will get wind of this and they will bring the hammer down on all of us, high, medium, and low. And I like it. And its fair.

      We have one half of this profession filled with fake liberal fucks preaching self-sacrifice as they pillage the tax payer, while ruining the lives of thousands and millions, and we have another group of fake conservative fucks focusing on this shit.

      Yes, make no doubt, this is the problem: a superbly qualified lawyer being on unemployment and not wanting to work retail for minimum wage, not the higher ed industry which is raping all parties involved. And please, no snarky replies on how you think the higher ed issue is a problem " and where in your post did I see that it wasn't." Theres a reason you concentrated on that BS issue and not the real problem at hand

      Im sure it pleases you fools that someone who achieved more than most is in this situation. I for one am not pleased because as this shit happens to the best, everyone is going to get sucked.

      Kids, reason 1001 to get a blue collar job over being a lawyer : solidarity in lieu of being surrounded by voracious and envious vipers .

      Delete
    2. Thanks for this post. And I agree we need to hear more of this voice. The person who went to the top schools and still ends up with no career.

      Delete
  37. I really think the economy is worse than it is portrayed. For anyone who believes otherwise, bank interest is at .5% for certificates of deposit...it can drop lower but not by much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The government would never stoop to fudging economic figures, would they?

      Delete
    2. Of course it is. The stock market is just 100 points or so of hitting an all-time high. Anyone think the economy is better than it's ever been?

      People who buy socks or real estate at these prices DESERVE to lose their life savings.

      Delete
    3. The value of US blue-chips has become decoupled from the US economy, because their employees and markets are no longer solely Americans.

      Even if you can't buy ExxonMobil's oil or Apple's iPads, there are a bunch of people in the world who can do so, and the companies profit.

      Delete
    4. Yes, the economy is worse than portrayed. One reason that stocks are so high is that on a relative basis stocks, believe it or not, are still a good deal (notwithstanding 9:54's cautions). Large cap (and some mid and small cap offerings) do well because they are run so much more efficiently that government entities. They have some upside, where clearly Government issued debt does not. Don't get me wrong, there are costs to such efficiencies, including the increasing ability of companies to ship assets, people and cash around the globe on a moment's notice, and I am not sure our political class acts in our national interest. Governments around the world need to reduce the size of their debt and run far more efficiently, something the political class and the rent seekers who benefit from government programs strenuously resist. Viewed in this light, the high stock prices are not so irrational.

      Delete
    5. Stocks aren't at record highs if you discount for inflation. Since one should pretty obviously discount for inflation, the DOW (isn't at all time highs. And the other indices aren't close, either.

      Jut another way the magnitude of this recession is papered over. Also agree with the above that many stocks are still in the value range (P/Es are reasonable, etc.). Giving the present use of printing money, many stocks are safer than the bond market.

      Delete
    6. @1009,

      Hurry up, dude, the ship of fools is about to hoist its sails, and you may not get on board before it leaves.

      LOL, everyone knows that the only reason the indexes are so high is that the Federal Reserve is printing money and using it to SUPPORT the stock prices. I've actually talked to people who think that this will work forever. Some of them claim that blue-chip stocks are now as safe as bonds. When I hear them say such things, it makes me think of that Hoover speech from 1928 where he said that we were about to see poverty disappear from the face of the Earth for all time.

      If you believe what you say, you should mortgage your house and go all in for the roaring recovery, LOL. Honesty begins at home.

      Delete
    7. @1015,

      They "aren't even close" to their all-time highs? The current all-time high occurred in late 2007. Just how much "inflation" have we seen in these last 5 years and change? Hmm?

      If stocks are safer than the bond market, you should go all in, dude. All aboard!!!

      Delete
    8. 10:19:

      You sound dumb.

      The inflation is baked into the market, whether you like it or not. The past and current effects aren't going away, though it will stop soon. Sticking your cash in the mattress or bonds rather than secure stocks (wide moats, etc.) is way riskier than recognizing the Fed policy for what it is.

      But, yeah, put your cash in the mattresses and buy firearms and canned goods.

      Delete
    9. 10:26/10:09 here again:

      The DOW is the one making the news. Here is an inflation adjusted chart:

      http://www.aboutinflation.com/inflation-adjusted-charts/us-index-sectors-inflation-adjusted-charts/dow-jones-industrial-average-inflation-adjusted-chart

      Retail investors lost a shitload of cash in 2009 by jumping ship at the worst time. Now isn't the best time to enter the party. Etc. etc. But it is clear you don't know what you're talking about.

      Delete
    10. @1032,

      "You're right, but it's clear you don't know what you're talking about."

      LOL

      Guess I missed all the news stories about the monster inflation we've experienced since 2007.

      Most of the smart money is actually shorting the market right now, but hey, I hope you're the last man in America to climb aboard. Wouldn't you look clever then? Like the cat that swallowed the canary. I wish I could be there to see the look on your face.

      Somehow I am sure that despite your know-it-all attitude, you've never had more than a grand or so (if that) to invest in the first place. I wonder why that is?

      Delete
    11. 10:54 -

      I'm not the one claiming the market is experiencing record highs.

      Good luck with your shorts.

      Delete
    12. Haha, but it IS at record highs. You're just trying to split hairs over a few hundred points. Because of, you know, all that massive inflation from the last five years.

      That say that *a* sucker is born every minute. But one like you only comes along every month or two. I would suggest that you take your $500 line and write some call options, but you probably don't even know what that means.

      Happy landings!

      Delete
    13. The S&P 500 was over 1500 in 2000. Surely, you aren't claiming that 12 years worth of inflation is insignificant?

      Delete
    14. 10:58 am again (not 12:18, who rightly points out that S & P is an even more significant case):

      I already provided the inflation adjusted graph that proves the one index to allegedly break its record--the DOW--has not in fact done so if one controls for inflation.

      So your retort is that if one is within a few hundred points one has actually topped the old record.

      Protip: This might be why you're unemployed. But congrats on learning what a call is.

      Delete
    15. 1059,

      "DURRR, HEY EVERYBODY!!!

      "Sell everything you have and go all-in on Internet stockzuh! The NASDAQ is less than HALF of its all-time ******INFLASHUNNN****** adjusted high! In 2000, adjusting for INFLASHUNNN, it was 6666, and today it is only 3100-something! Like, ZOMG, WHO KNEW?? DUHHHH!!!!"

      You know what? I give up. I hope you get as much leverage as you possibly can (which in your case is probably the money in your change tray) and go all in. I suggest that you mortgage your house (not that you own one) and start selling DEEP out-of-the-money put options. Of course, three or four years from now you WON'T show up to tell us how that worked out for you.

      If anyone doubted me when I said that some imbeciles actually believe that stocks are now as safe as bonds, look no further than the idiot at 159. Thanks for backing that assertion up, BTW. I repeat: go all in, and happy landings.

      P.S. Are you by any chance posting from Zimbabwe? You seem to have had some FIERCE, unstoppable inflation in your neck of the woods. LOL, did prices in your country double while you were flaming this forum?

      Delete
    16. And BTW, 1059, I have enough money that I don't NEED to work anymore - and none of it came from Obammy. So enjoy your (likely make-believe) "job" that lets you surf the web at 159 pm. I sure hope your pretend job doesn't find you advising people on how to invest their money, LOL.

      Delete
    17. It's entirely possible you're retired. But your prose gives away the fact that you have no grasp of how a market works or of nuance.

      Best of luck with bonds.

      Delete
    18. Best of luck with buying high, idiot.

      All in, dude. That is, if you've got the balls to put your money where your mouth is. LOL, too bad I can't take a bet on that one.

      Delete
  38. Here's the back of the envelop math I did a while back about the long term prospects in large firms:

    If the typical career lasts about 40 years, in a large firm you should have roughly 10 years pre-partner and 30 years as partner. If there was no attrition at all, we'd have a ratio of 1 associate to every 3 partners. If you look at large firms though, the ratio is reversed, 3 associates to every 1 partner.

    In order to get from 1:3 to 3:1, you need 8 out of every 9 associates to not reach partner level. 89% attrition rate over the first 10 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Partners bail to corporate in-house.

      I even saw a former well-compensated Managing Partner do this.

      Delete
    2. Depends on the firm I guess, as you get into the bottom 50 of the Amlaw 100 it's closer to 1:1. Odds of making partner are still slim but it's less leveraged.

      Delete
    3. Right, there is some partner attrition, but I don't think it's enough to move the needle very much. Maybe instead of 89% attrition among associates it's 80-85%.

      Delete
    4. There was 50% partner attrition in my practice group when I billed hours.

      All for in house positions.

      And this was over a period of six years.

      Since that time, one (very) safe partner jumped ship and crashed and burned because he was unrealistic about greener pastures, so there's some of that too.

      Remember, when you lateral, the business has a choice of whether to stay or go. If it stays...well...

      Delete
    5. I'm not trying to pick a fight with you, BL1Y, I'm just pointing out a personal data point that indicates, to me, that more data probably needs to be gathered in order to determine the actual attrition percentage.

      Delete
  39. @9:23--THANK YOU!!

    Republicans who say we need to cut off benefits are NOT talking about highly educated people like the writer above. They're talking about low-skill workers who make essentially the same amount of money from public assistance as they would in a low-pay job.

    In other words, the Republican concern is incentivising a lifestyle where one becomes lazy AND does not gain work experience (which, hopefully, can one day help them get a better paying job).

    I'm wondering what types of jobs this writer is applying to. There are plenty of small firms that would hire him at a salary of about $45K-$60K per year.

    Frankly, I think the ego of some of these former biglaw lawyers gets in their way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I'm wondering what types of jobs this writer is applying to. There are plenty of small firms that would hire him at a salary of about $45K-$60K per year."


      Oh, bull. Name them, and LawProf can send them on to the writer.

      Delete
  40. Thomas Jefferson School of Law is looking for a new Dean:

    Guerney: Well established at Albany. Why looking to get out? Balmy weather, certainly, and the opportunity to teach at a top-notch school at TJSL. Or,

    http://abovethelaw.com/2011/07/what-happened-at-the-albany-law-school-admissions-office/

    White: Bounces all over the place. And,

    http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/06/26/4059659/texas-am-announces-plans-to-buy.html

    Ammons: The front-runner, for sure. Diversity. Diversity. Diversity.

    Mitnick: No shot. Courtesy consideration.

    Greenberg: Long ties to Golden Gate University SOL. And the third of the five to have ties to it (the TJSL of the Bay Area). Everyone is looking to get out of that sinking ship, fast.

    God help any of these people if they actually have to end up working for a living some day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting that Ammons is in the mix. Widener has taken a major hit in enrollment. San Diego probably looks pretty nice right about now to anyone at Widener with options.

      Delete
  41. 10:00 - the "Republican concern" is maximizing profits and minimizing taxes for their rich and corporate benefactors. They don't give two craps about working people, poor people, or working poor people.

    Please, enlighten us on all these plentiful "small firm jobs," I'm sure a lot of people on this board would find that information relevant to their interests.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And the Democrats really care about poor or working class people?

      Delete
  42. First off, the unemployed 30 year old makes two different claims re: his salary. First, it's almost quarter of a million dollars for 5 years. Later, he says it started at $125k and *almost* doubled within 5 years. Which is it??

    Anyway... Like most others here, I have sympathy for him as a person. However, no one forced him to live in a luxury high rise with a view of Central Park. Plenty of people live/work in NY without spending that kind of money.

    While I feel sorry for this guy, I certainly don't think he's any type of poster boy for hard luck. He should *definitely* have some savings after those 5 years, except that he chose to spend everything. Really, there are plenty of people who save 10% of their income and live much more modestly than he felt he should.

    Frankly, he should have been MUCH more careful about his expenses. Not much sympathy here, from that point of view (though, like I mentioned at the beginning, I do feel a little sorry for him. There are plenty of others for whom real sympathy should be reserved, though.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't know what he saved. You are making a ton of assumptions because he lived in a nice place in the city. He probably worked all the time, so this was his reward.

      I don't know, I think this is a story of how tough it is and how people don't really understand the pervasiveness of the law school scam. Part of the scam was the creation of this belief that you will earn 6 figures when you graduate and that it will continue from there.

      Even now, people don't know that biglaw is likely the most they will ever earn.

      Delete
  43. He obviously didn't save money because he assumed that he would keep his job. Before everything went to hell in the legal job market, that was an assumption lots of people were making. The guy paid his loans off and lived in the type of apartment expected of a Biglaw associate on the rise. I don't think he should be pilloried for not accurately predicting the future. If you're making that much money, why wouldn't you spend it on a great apartment? (I've never made anywhere near that much, and don't live in a palatial apartment, but I can understand why someone would do so.) Why shouldn't people be entitled to live their lives as if the careers they prepared for and achieved would continue successfully?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He shouldn't be pilloried, agreed. It's a tough situation that happened through no fault of his own.

      There is a standard piece of personal finance advice to have 6-12 months of living expenses saved up for emergencies. That's a very hard task for most people, but in his situation he stood a better chance of being able to and leveraging it.

      Also, it seems like he is utterly inflexible to finding non-law related work. He's one of the lucky ones - his loans are paid off. He has the flexibility to move into another career if the prospects are brighter by going back to school and accruing some more debt. Most recent law grads are simply in the same spot as him - unemployed, but still a full book of loans accruing interest.

      I don't think he is the right poster boy for most struggling law grads.

      Delete
    2. My guess would be that you should be targeting *5 years* in this economy because you might need to transition to an entirely different profession.

      And if school is potentially involved, you might want to save for tuition, too.

      Anyone in BigLaw should be using this kind of thinking.

      Delete
    3. I know there are kids on TLS who think a T6 school means 40 years of employment. So, it is important to fight that stereotype. People remain woefully ignorant of all the stuff we know.

      Also, we don't know how much this guy saved. He helped his parents buy a house, he probably paid off loans and put a lot into a 401 (k). He probably burned up a lot of savings by staying in New York with no income and searching for another job. I'm sure he thought he would get something else and only moved to Atlanta when he ran out of his savings.

      I wouldn't assume that he just blew through all the money he earned, though plenty of people have done so.

      Delete
    4. If I lost my job first thing I would do is move about two hours north of NYC and take the train in for interviews as needed.

      Delete
    5. "He obviously didn't save money because he assumed that he would keep his job. "

      And you passed the LSAT? You have no idea of how much money he saved.

      Delete
    6. In New York City, a palatial apartment usually means a coop. More recently, some condos are palatial. A palatial apartment would rarely be a rental.

      One buys coop and condo apartments, and a BigLaw associate cannot afford to buy absent a spouse with a very high paying job, and a large down payment. In a coop, one needs a high net worth to buy - savings of several times the price of the apartment. Condos are much much more expensive per square foot than coops partly because they do not have the same net worth restrictions. So you pay almost double for the same space as in a coop.

      A young lawyer can get a nice rental by sharing with other lawyers, by subletting from someone or by living in an apartment owned by someone else. Any of these ways, the young lawyer may find a rent stabilized apartment or one where a roommate's family owns the apartment and allows the lawyer to stay for a reduced rate.

      Housing in New York is very expensive, but this guy may have lucked into a good housing deal. It is unlikely that he really had a palatial apartment. It was on a high floor of a high rise, but he could have had several roommates.

      Delete
  44. @10:20 a.m.-- your post illustrates the challeges in the fight against the law school scam.

    Here's the starting point-- (not my own idea, it's culled from a comment in the Atlantic): Law school starts with a winner-take-all model. Lawyers follow that model throughout their professional careers.

    This creates a lot of pressure, insecurity, bitter feelings, and victim blaming among all the participants.

    Every time someone posts about being Lathamed (stealth layoffs because of industry down-turns) on this board, JD Underground, or abovethelaw, someone chimes in with "why didn't you pay your loans off in ten years (or five years or three years)."

    The next point is the perception of legal employment. Legal employment is supposed to be safe. The strategies suggested (save 10%, live a modest or even austere lifestyle), are not the public perception of legal employment.

    You expect an English graduate school student to have limited employment options upon graduation. You expect a bond trader to bear lots of professional risk.

    Those expectations do not follow with law, and they should.

    The point of the initial post is that even the "winners" of the law school game are one step away from the fate of the "losers." That wasn't something that anyone probably comtemplated when they started law school and,(LeDuc and Mitchell notwithstanding, it's been that way for the last 20 years).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've pretty much been set at a 50% savings rate since I got out of law school, with the focus on modesty and austerity because it's been obvious to me that there is no security in law.

      The associate *and* partner scrapheap is always within sight for most attorneys.

      It's been this way for some time.

      Granted, I didn't understand this in law school, but once you are actually practicing law, it becomes pretty clear.

      Mr. $250,000 a year should have realized this at least a couple of years before he was dumped onto the scrapheap.

      Delete
    2. ^ Same here, I paid off my loans my first two years and I live extremely modestly. There's a lot of people at my firm live it up and blow all their money.

      Besides, even if you didn't know the employment situation was so bad, why would you want to live a lifestyle that commits you to slaving away at Biglaw forever?

      Delete
    3. Gotta treat your biglaw career like an nfl player should treat his nfl career. Save a ton and defer as many taxes as possible to your upcoming low-income/no-income years.

      Delete
    4. ^^^^This. Been trying to tell people for nearly 20 years that law is like pro sports. I have been lucky...managed to stay in for almost 20 years and make some nice money on an education that cost me a lot (3 times) less than the poor souls today. Paid off the loans...paid off the house...live quite modestly....I have shoveled it away expecting that any day I could come in and find that the door code doesn't work for me anymore. Law, medicine, assembly line, whatever, you have to live well (well) below your means if you expect to make it to the end of the game with some bit of dignity left.

      Delete
  45. There is no answer though to being trained to do something, and doing it for several years, and then finding out there is NO DEMAND FOR THE SERVICE YOU ARE TRAINED TO PERFORM.

    Savings or none, people almost all need paying jobs after the age of 30 and this person cannot get ANY legal job or other job that uses his/ her degree despite 18 months of looking around the world.

    This represents a failure of the legal profession. Training too many starting lawyers for too few long term jobs.

    VERY SIMPLE. TOO MANY PEOPLE. NOT ENOUGH WORK.

    Only a sharp reduction in the number of law school grads and an even sharper reduction in the BigLaw hiring and sleath firing model will cure this.

    The head of my firm in a lawyer meeting told us "This (up or out) model is not sustainable." The firm has thousands (cannot remember but about 3,000 rings a bell) of applicants each year for [40 to 80] lawyer jobs. Senior associates and others do not leave the firm because there are no jobs to go to. Lockstep pay increases, and billing rate increases that go along with the pay increases, in the associate ranks leave a surplus of highly paid experienced lawyers who make much more than the $160,000 starting salary. At this firm, the head of the firm has said "Not everyone can stay here." The head of personnel has said in spite of the firm trying very hard to get all lawyers jobs "Not everyone is going to get a job." The legal employment system at BigLaw is plain broken for many lawyers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They teach you to type in all caps at your firm too?

      Delete
  46. I have tried a little to get 0Ls to understand this idea, that there may not be an exit option open, and definitely not one that will justify the debt you take on.

    It is very hard to get this data as much of it becomes individualized. Some people will do fine, others won't. People do think that biglaw equals 10 years of high salaries. They don't want to hear about people who get Lathamed.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Mr. $250,000 a year -- LOL!!

    Frankly, I'm sick of hearing how biglaw associates hate their jobs.

    As for losing his job, HE IS NOT THE ONLY LAWYER that is going through this right now. Join the (very large) club!!

    People who work at big law are blessed. They have a good firm to put on their resume, even if they worked like dogs and eventually "aged out." They were even able to pay off their loans.

    So please, next time you hear a biglaw associate complain, just tell them to shut up!

    ReplyDelete
  48. No sympathy for this guy. He made it to the top of his profession and he is crying because he fell from grace. He complains about not being able to get a job, and supports the Occupy Wall Street protests.

    If he got his political way, he would never get a big firm job, as such positions would never exist.

    All I hear from this guy is whine. He is living with his parent (free housing). He is on unemployment (free money). He is starving (with free money and free housing). He has applied to 750 jobs (big F*ing deal... you and every other lawyer). He is too good for McDonalds or Best Buy (we all are, but we aren't really). He is too hopeful for that big law firm job (we all are). He is willing to travel (we all are).

    He gives false choices. It's flipping burgers or big law. It's starvation or 99 weeks of unemployment. It's living with dad in Georgia or living in a Manhattan penthouse.

    This guy could hang a shingle. He's got good experience, and can give the line "I came back to Georgia to hang a shingle in my father's town so I can be closer to him." I would believe it; I would hire this small town big-city attorney.

    Being unemployed is difficult, but not as difficult as feeling sorry for this guy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The shingle is a dead end in an oversaturated market.

      Delete
    2. It depends on what the experience was.if it was pure corporate - he is a pretty fungible commodity with limited useful experience for any small, medium firm and pretty well nothing that could work in a solo practice.

      Delete
    3. "This guy could hang a shingle. He's got good experience, and can give the line "I came back to Georgia to hang a shingle in my father's town so I can be closer to him." I would believe it; I would hire this small town big-city attorney. "

      There has been much discussion on the likelihood of making a living as a solo, and that's where one had connections (i.e., no Atlanta, in this guy's case).

      Perhaps you should read them.

      Delete
    4. "I would believe it; I would hire this small town big-city attorney."

      Oh really, what would you hire him for? Once you understand that question you'll see why solo practice is a $50k (net) dead end.

      Delete
    5. Oh, I feel sorry for him. I don't know many people who would have reacted any better.

      The point is that the system is failing almost everyone. In the past, the system worked well-enough that if you fell, you would fall a few rungs on the ladder. Your degree and your talent had some value and the system could recognize it.

      The message here is that degrees and talent are very fragile and often worthless. This is a cautionary tale for anyone investing in them.

      Delete
  49. The whole point is that the BigLaw model should not be built on large numbers of forced retirements from any type of paying work that would justify taking on a law degree before the age of 35. It does not matter what this person earned at Biglaw. All that matters is whether he/she can get a reasonable job going forward.

    No one is contending that after a few years in Biglaw, a lawyer has enough money to retire and live with any degree of comfort. It just is not so. This is not an investment banker who made millions. This is someone who made an upper middle class salary in a very very expensive city where every dollar of earnings may be worth 60 cents in a less expensive area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not enough to retire, but a decent amount nonetheless. Gotta do the best you can within the system.

      Delete
  50. The point in posting this guy's story is to show that a person with 5 years of Biglaw experience can be laid off and end up with no employment options other than perhaps fast food. All this talk about whether and how much money he saved is beside the point, unless you think that would somehow have made his law degree a smart investment in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't mean much unless you can indicate OPs situation is more typical than not. You could also end up getting like the people at Dewey but most people don't.

      Delete
  51. The comments disparaging this guy (all based on assumptions about his finances that have little support in the actual post) are blowing my mind. Are you guys all clueless 22 year olds? Did you all go to bottom-tier schools, so you hate anyone who went to a better school? The whole point of this post is that someone "did everything right," achieved everything that law students are supposed to aspire to, and lost it all due to no fault of his own. I think that's a pretty strong cautionary tale for everyone, regardless of if you think you'd have it made and have money to last forever after 5 years of making $250k.

    Yes, that's a lot of money, but it's over a short period of time. You pay off a mountain of debt, buy a house for your parents, and pay exorbitant NYC rent, and...what do you expect to have left out of that? Probably not very much. Certainly not enough that you could just stop working forever and live off your "savings." And yet this guy "should have known better" and "should have saved 1, 3, or 5 years' salary just in case"??? What planet do you people live on?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be fair, he comes off as a bit arrogant. And I think we are all a little skeptical that this is a typical result for somebody with 5 years big firm experience and presumably a Columbia or NYU law degree.

      Delete
    2. I think that's the point of the post. Even though he had a few reasons to be arrogant in the past, he has few options today. In the past, if you fell down, you would drop a few rungs on the ladder. Now it's straight to the cellar. It's a cautionary tale and it's well-told.

      Delete
    3. Envious vipers. This profession is filled with envious vipers. It is just that, in the end, this profession will be utterly dominated by people born with money. Only it will be much worse than the overt nepotism of the past. It willbe the kind of nepotism that, as a matter of structure, will make it prohibitive for anyone not born into money even trying to be a lawyer. Don't get angry with these stupid fucks. I never worked in BL, but I know that when this shit happens at the top, everyone but the absolute apex of the profession is going to feel the pain. At this point, rightfully so. Anyone that wanted to be part of this, myself included, deserves the ensuing misery that will follow.

      Delete
    4. I'm not saying you're wrong, but you're reading a little bit into the guy's story by saying he lost it all "through no fault of his own." He was probably guiltless, sure, but we don't know what kind of worker he was.

      And I don't really care what kind of worker he was. The whole freaking legal economy shouldn't be closed off to someone of his accomplishments.

      Delete
    5. Leaving aside what the names Columbia and NYU mean in Atlanta or really anywhere outside of the east coast, I'm not clear why everyone assumes big firm experience means anything at this point in time. In 2009 I applied for a gig with DHS, and was told that there were 400 applicants for this one opening. Would my odds have been that much better if I had spent 5 years doing "due diligence" or whatever big law grunt work that has no application outside of that realm? And that was 4 years ago, it's only gotten worse.
      I've spent the time since then split between a couple of firms that many lawyers would deride as "shitlaw." I know for a fact that we've gotten numerous resumes from biglaw washouts. A couple did balk at the low pay and didn't take offers. Many more simply didn't get interviewed.
      It's hard for a lot of lawyers to understand, but you are not your resume. It will not necessarily "open doors" for you, particularly if the person on the other side of that door lacks your esteemed pedigree. Ivy league grads can suffer just like the 4th tier toilet grads.

      Delete
    6. I'm a T14 grad who's about 40.

      I don't bill hours and I'm fine financially.

      The last thing that I'm going to be is jealous of someone who lived in the meat grinder of NYC BigLaw, and is now unemployed and quasi-hopeless, since I specifically *avoided* NYC BigLaw back during the glory days when salaries first began their upward ascent to $125,000 because I had no interest in billing 2400+ hours.

      I'm just pointing out the reality of the current economic configuration and the need to save and avoid debt dues to the complete instability of the legal profession.

      Delete
    7. "Yes, that's a lot of money, but it's over a short period of time. You pay off a mountain of debt, buy a house for your parents, and pay exorbitant NYC rent, and...what do you expect to have left out of that?"

      Heck, pay off the debt + have a half-way decent apartment in NYC would probably have eaten his salary quite nicely.

      Delete
    8. "Heck, pay off the debt + have a half-way decent apartment in NYC would probably have eaten his salary quite nicely." I agree, but I didn't want to set off the "you can live lavishly on $1000/month in Jersey!" fantasy trolls.

      Delete
  52. I am surprised that you guys arent more fired up about Denver University's latest message from the Dean:

    http://www.law.du.edu/index.php/admissions/learn/choosing-denver-law-myths-v.-facts

    It makes me sick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Individual graduate experiences will vary."

      Delete
  53. Capitalist economies don't guarantee any particular individual much more than potential opportunities to compete; the op and others like him will be fine despite the deceptive and manipulative marketing that law schools use. School smarts is only good in school where most are pretty naive about the harsh realities of the business world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment doesn't mean anything to me.

      "He's only book smart, not street-smart. He only earned the oppty to compete."

      This guy did compete, and he won. Literally beating out the competition at every level in order to secure a good job, only to have the rug pulled out from under him through no fault of his own.

      I am of the opinion that intelligent people ought to be able to get ahead, and OP's story makes it abundantly clear to me that this is no longer the case.

      Sometimes I think that commenters don't want others to get ahead no matter what.

      Delete
    2. He is intelligent.

      The problem is that he used the wrong assumptions, which made his conclusions incorrect.

      The assumption he made was that intelligence and hard work will lead to success in BigLaw.

      The reality is that a intelligence, hard work, and a $2,000,000 book of business will lead to success in BigLaw.

      Delete
    3. JP, I dont disagree with your statement.

      Where I do disagree is with the notion that this guy is getting his just desserts.

      Yes, he fell from BigLaw, but he is also exceptionally bright, he is young, and he has a lot of experience.

      Surely he should be able to find something better than flipping burgers? Is this the best use of our young people?

      Delete
  54. It seems that for a lot of lawyers, the legal profession has a firm ceiling and no floor to speak of.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I am curious as to the attacks on the gawker author. In essence what his post disclosed is that for the minority of law graduates who secure a BigLaw job it is a gilded trap. I would make a strong bet that he was an associate at Howrey or Dewey LeBeouf - or that he was in a practice that had heavy layoffs.

    But still, why savage him - he is already down, does he need to be kicked? The BigLaw model is a pretty nasty one, where associates compete internally for work and partner's favour, and if the partner moves on, or they fall out of favour, they are SOL. In the meantime the associate is expected to give up any sort of normal life - and in corporate work, do stultifying work that has marginal legal relevance for very long hours. It is hardly surprising that many do not have supportable lifestyles without the BigLaw pay.

    In any event, I think the big issue is - suppose you get the BigLaw associate position. The chances are 90% plus that you will not make partner, and will that BigLaw job have left you with skills that are marketable outside BigLaw? In my experience BigLaw associates have limited skills outside what was required in their particular department of their particular firm.

    But even then, if you make partner, you are looking for your next job every day, but that next job is called a client. If you do not have clients you are vulnerable, and even if you do they could all disappear tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem (as reflected in the comments here) is that people who haven't experienced the phenomenon you described don't believe in it. They think that if THEY got the "golden ticket" biglaw job, THEY would make partner and be rich forevvveeerrrrr, and so they just hate and blame anyone who got the amazing "opportunity" and didn't succeed in being among the handful to make partner. It must have been something that person did! It can't possibly be a systemic problem that ends up screwing the majority of people who enter it.

      Delete
    2. Tick...tick...tickFebruary 6, 2013 at 4:13 PM

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFYH9GE6Emo

      Nobody's perfect,
      Not even a perfect stranger.
      Oh, but what a gal,
      She was such a perfect stranger.
      And you're the best in your field,
      In your office,
      With your girls, desk and leather chair.
      Thought that time was on your side,
      Not, it's time the avenger.

      Nobody's permanent,
      Everything is on loan here.
      Even your wife and kids,
      Could be gone next year.
      And with what you have left,
      You'll be forever, under pressure to support her.
      And a lover who looks strangely,
      Like time the avenger.

      Time, time hear the bells chime.
      Over the harbor in the city,
      Time, one more vodka and lime,
      To help paralyze that little
      Tick, tick tick tick...

      Nobody's perfect,
      Not even a perfect gent.
      When you properly took the A train,
      I wonder where your manners went.
      You were standing at the station,
      In your briefcase was your aftershave and underwear.
      Can you hear the whistle blow,
      Sounds like time the avenger.

      Time, time hear the bells chime.
      Over the harbor in the city.
      Time kill another bottle of wine,
      To help paralyze that little
      Tick, tick tick tick ...

      Delete
    3. The question is what percentage of T5 grads end up like this? Sure, some women, especially from these schools marry well and retire pretty much voluntarily. How many grads of these schools are looking for legal jobs and cannot get them?

      If the numbers are high, this is a critical factor for 0Ls to know. Who is going to go to Columbia or NYU if 15% of the class is outright unemployed and looking a few years out?

      As the T14 classes get older, there may be a big contingent of former partners or counsel who were thrown out of large and midsized firms. The former partners are not starving, but they still are effectively unemployed.

      When you are talking T5 law schools, you are probably talking people who have many options after college. With full information about employment outcomes, they may not go to a T5 law school.


      Delete
    4. Once again MacK knows everything biglaw corporate people do because...oh wait, he never worked in Biglaw.

      Delete
  56. Was this guy a Diversity Hire (he lives in Atlanta)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. he lives in the exurbs of Atlanta. There are a lot of white people there. Black,white or Asian. unemployed is still unemployed. Bulk of the people who were laid off from law firms are white just like the pool of underlying employees

      Delete
  57. General Petya SamanovFebruary 6, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    "When you lose and fail, it is understandable. When you win and fail, that brings madness."

    ReplyDelete
  58. Here we go - this is thinking outside the box. Let's get those application and enrollment rates up.

    http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202587287831&To_lure_students_public_law_school_drops_outofstate_tuition

    ReplyDelete
  59. Hey this guy didn't network enough. Look at this '98 grad of the Seton Hall Toilet School of Law:

    http://blogs.app.com/capitolquickies/2013/01/30/christies-new-judge-picks-include-middlesex-freeholder-daughter-of-former-chief-justice/

    Mara Zazalli-Hogan was recently appointed a state judge. I am sure the fact that her dad was the former Chief Justice of the NJ Supreme Court and former Attorney General had nothing to do with her stellar academic pedigree and her ascension to the court.

    ReplyDelete
  60. i didn't know Akon had his own LS. Lady Gaga royalties aren't enough?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Kids nowadays believe they can rest on their laurels by doing "everything right" including attending an Ivy League school and a T6 law school. That is pure nonsense. Unless you come from a wealthy family or have a book of business to sustain several associates and a couple of income partners, you are subject to Biglaw's chopping block. It's sink or swim and a HYP and HYS pedigree isn't a life preserver.

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