Friday, February 22, 2013

Doctors and lawyers

Steven Brill of The American Lawyer and CourtTV fame has a very long story in the new issue of Time on some of the more absurd financial dysfunctions of The Best Health Care System in the World(tm).  In short, TBHCSITW has managed to do to society at large approximately what law schools have done to their students:

When we debate health care policy, we seem to jump right to the issue of who should pay the bills, blowing past what should be the first question: Why exactly are the bills so high?
This is same question that ought to be asked of the many law school apologists who treat the increase in the cost of legal education as something akin to a law of thermodynamics, as opposed to a fabulously successful exercise in rent-seeking by people who have captured a regulatory process.

Critiquing that exercise highlights how the law school cartel has managed to do something which has completely eluded the bar as a whole.  A question well worth investigating is why the licensed members of The Best Legal System in the World(tm) have, in comparison to their medical brethren, been so unsuccessful at using their own cartel to protect the economic position of lawyers, as opposed to that of law schools.

Consider some numbers:

In 1989, legal services accounted for approximately $157 billion, in 2005 dollars, of US GDP.  In 2011 that same figure (again in 2005 dollars) was $156 billion.  Over this time GDP increased by 68% in constant dollars, which means that, as a share of the economy, the legal sector shrank by approximately 41% over the past two decades.

Meanwhile law schools have increased graduate output by 24% over this same time frame, while the cost of private law school tuition doubled in real terms, and that of resident public law school tuition increased by a factor of nearly five.  In other words, we've radically increased both the price and the supply of something (a license to practice law) whose relative economic value has been collapsing.

The situation in the medical profession has been the precise opposite.   After medical school admissions rose rapidly from the mid-1960s through the 1970s, the AMA reacted to warnings that there would soon be a "glut" of doctors by essentially freezing medical school graduate totals for three decades (Medical schools graduated around 16,000 to 17,000 people every year between 1980 and 2008.  Finally, in reaction to new warnings that the country is facing a severe shortage of doctors, medical school admissions began to rise again about five years ago).

The most striking contrast between the situation in law and medicine is, that while economic demand for legal services has, relatively speaking, been contracting radically (note to law school administrators: economic demand = people having enough money to pay for something they're willing to use that money to pay for), that for medical services has gone through the roof.  Between 1980 and 2008, the proportion of American GDP devoted to the health care sector increased by an astounding 77.8%.

Now of course doctors only captured part, and perhaps a relatively small part, of that increased demand in the form of their direct compensation.  But what the AMA has been remarkably good at ensuring is that, with trivial exceptions, everyone who graduates from medical school gets to be a practicing physician for more or less as long as they want to be.  That is, in the context of capitalism's gusts of creative destruction, an extraordinarily valuable benefit -- and it's why comparisons between the "average" compensation of doctors and lawyers, or, more far more accurately, between graduates of medical schools and law schools, are essentially meaningless.

Here's Brill's description of the plight of large numbers of patients within the contemporary American health care system:  "They are powerless buyers in a seller's market where the only sure thing is the profit of the sellers."  That would also make for a good description of large numbers of law students within the contemporary system of legal education.  Of course law school apologists would respond that buyers of legal education are not powerless in comparison to, say, buyers of health care who are suffering a medical emergency or from a serious illness.  And that's true -- which is precisely why, now that the power of better information has been placed into their hands, applications to law school are collapsing even faster than the economic demand for legal services.


131 comments:

  1. The credited response is definitely not some lame reference to being first.

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    1. Lighten up, Francis.

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    2. Listen to the warm.
      Frank

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  2. The ABA does not care about the practicing bar. It cares about the TTT school administrators who have regulatorily captured the rules of the accreditation game. The ABA also cares about Fortune 500 companies and Biglaw and federal court.

    The ABA looks with great disdain on the unwashed masses of workaday lawyers, individuals, and the legal systems and judiciaries of state courts.

    It is a horrible trade association. I don't know a single paying member who is not either (1) a biglaw employee where such dues are paid, or (2) a super duper discount member who joined because the promotion gets you a certain number of CLEs that are only required because of the ABA's own "reforms."

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  3. Doctors often express dislike for various aspects of practicing medicine, but usually seem to overcome that dislike sufficiently to continue practicing; lawyers often jump at the first chance to leave the law. Would be very interesting to know the typical duration of a medical career vs. a legal career.

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  4. The problem with health care costs is analogous to the problem with legal education costs: the person who pays for the service (insurance company / federal government) is not the person who receives the benefit (patient / law student). This enables the person who provides the service (health care provider / law school) to oversell/overprice to the person who receives the services.

    The difference between the two is that the law student, unlike the insured patient, is expected to pay for the service over the next 10 or 25 years. As a matter of logic, the student would not pay for the service if it was economically detrimental to do so, but heuristic biases, cloud his/her judgment. The student is overly focused on immediate gratification (they accepted me!), overly optimistic about the future, and trusts anodyne editorials that alleviate his/her concerns about the future.

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    1. "the person who pays for the service (insurance company / federal government) is not the person who receives the benefit (patient / law student)"

      That does not explain high prices for uninsured not yet on medicare patients. They pay more for the same service then what insurance company / federal government pays.

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  5. One thing I don't understand. The ABA claims it cannot limit the number of law schools or law school students because it would violate anti-trust laws. Yet the AMA has been limiting the number of medical school students for decades. Why can't the ABA do what the AMA does? Anyone have an explaination?

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    1. This, I would much like to know. If one violates ant-trust la, why not the other?

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    2. There's arguments either way, and the ABA is picking the interpretation most favourable to the way it wants to go (i.e., more schools) whilst the AMA, if it has ever even considered the idea, likely would pick the interpretation most favourable to it. Another factor is bias towards the status quo - courts are much more likely to look favourably on the prevention of the opening of a school than they are on a decision to close schools which are already operating.

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    3. Actually, under the accreditation rules of the US Department of Education the ABA is supposed to take into account employment and bar passage rates - it just does not.


      34 CFR §602.16 provides in part that criteria for accreditation includes

      (a) The agency must demonstrate that it has standards for accreditation, and preaccreditation, if offered, that are sufficiently rigorous to ensure that the agency is a reliable authority regarding the quality of the education or training provided by the institutions or programs it accredits. The agency meets this requirement if—

      (1) The agency's accreditation standards effectively address the quality of the institution or program in the following areas:

      (i) Success with respect to student achievement in relation to the institution's mission, including, as appropriate, consideration of course completion, State licensing examination, and job placement rates.

      (ii) Curricula.

      (iii) Faculty.

      (iv) Facilities, equipment, and supplies.

      (v) Fiscal and administrative capacity as appropriate to the specified scale of operations.

      (vi) Student support services.

      (vii) Recruiting and admissions practices, academic calendars, catalogs, publications, grading, and advertising.

      (viii) Measures of program length and the objectives of the degrees or credentials offered.

      (ix) Record of student complaints received by, or available to, the agency

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    4. B/c the ABA is more interested in ideological politics and law professors are unwilling to work towards a common goal. Heck, I remember a faculty conference where we spent 2 hours discussing whether to change the name of a course (and no one could agree).

      Let's also be candid here folks: law is not intellectually demanding; most people can pass law school and practice. You do need to be smart to do organic chemistry and understand histology.

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    5. The antitrust argument is bullshit. It was written in the context of a system that the Department of Justice argued benefited law professors and ignored the welfare of the students and graduates. That was the criticism by the DOJ.

      What could more benefit law professors and screw students and grads than the current system of glutting the profession with a vast oversupply of lawyers.

      The DOJ opinion was not written in the context of balancing supply and demand of lawyers. That question did not come up in the context.

      The goal of balancing supply of lawyers with demand surely operates to the detriment of law professors and for the benefit of law students and practicing lawyers.

      In other words, limiting the number of law schools and grads from these schools so supply and demand of lawyers is balanced would not run afoul of the antitrust questions addressed by the DOJ.

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    6. Maybe (speculating, I don't know) are there different licensing requirements for doctors that don't apply to lawyers, so that formal medical education is required to practice?

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  6. Certainly, the capture of the ABA regulatory apparatus by law school administrators -- the fox guarding the chicken coop -- is a huge factor, substantially aided and abetted by the free flow of federal loan dollars. But another factor is that, just like law schools, the ABA is disproportionately powered by and operated for the benefit of BigLaw and other "winners" in the law game -- the tail wagging the dog.

    The lawyers who have the time and inclination to do the ABA-thing are, overwhelmingly, lawyers for whom the system is working. Just like law school professors are immune from and largely ignorant of the sad plight of most law school grads so, too, are ABA-types who are making or driving cartel policy. I'm sure it is or, until very recently, was news to them that at least half of all law grads aren't employed as lawyers and that a large percentage of the profession is struggling just to make ends meet.

    It's not their world.

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  7. Okay, after getting to be first let me add this. In the movie "A Few Good Men" Jack Nicholson said: "We obey orders, son. We obey orders or people die. It's just that simple."

    And that's the point. Architects cover their mistakes with ivy, lawyers cover their mistakes with appeals and doctors cover their mistakes with earth. When doctors screw up, people die. When lawyers screw up people just have to deal with it. That allows the AMA to say that lowering admissions standards puts people's lives at risk wthout being accused of elitism. And I have known many people who fell short of medcal school who were able to become podiatrists or optometrists.

    The person who falls short of the T14, on the other hand, can just go to a TTT and come out with the same license.

    Here's a similar situation. When the only two fields that were open to women were teaching and nursing teaching and nursing got the best and the brightest. When women could pursue other careers the number pursuing teaching and nursing fell. What happened? Nursing schools refused to compromise their standards, lest doing so might risk the lives of patients. As a result we have an ongoing shortage of RNs and some RNs making very good money. But when the best and the brightest left teaching they simply took people of lesser intelligence and ability and stuck them into classrooms, the result being the train wreck known as American public schools.

    So unless and until the legal profession can be like Jack Nicholson and say that people will die, we are just going to have to wait for the market, and a lot more people's lives, to crash and burn.

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    1. This is a top-notch comment. The only quibble I've got is the "some nurses make very good money" piece. What's very good money? 60-70,000/yr? Yes that's good, but not VERY good. Nurses' salaries are held artificially low by a number of factors, not least of which is, I believe, a cultural bias against them. The job description of a nurse in 1950 bears absolutely no relation to that of a nurse in 2013. They are mini-docs (at least in the in-pt hospital setting; I'm not talking about primary physicians' nurses or those working in other arenas like convalescent or geriatric homes. They may be mini-docs, but I have no first-hand knowledge of that).

      As to the ongoing shortage of nurses, part of that is due to the "people die" notion you present. If you are a nurse with experience, you can get a job anywhere, any time. If you don't have experience, hospitals are not inclined to spend the money it takes to train you while also taking the massive liability risk on you (sound like biglaw?). My wife recently tested the waters and received 4 job offers from 4 interviews. She declined them all and stayed where she was. A friend of ours graduated from nsg school 3 months ago and cannot find a thing.

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    2. as to your analysis of teachers in america you are DEAD RIGHT, though.

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    3. "As a result we have an ongoing shortage of RNs and some RNs making very good money. "

      Nope, I saw an article recently where hospitals are refusing to hire RN's right out of school.

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    4. Barry, read 8:28's comment which discusses hospitals not wanting to absorb training costs for and take on the liability risks of newly minted nurses. There is a shorttage, and what 8:28 described makes it worse.

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  8. The differences between the AMA/medical profession and the ABA/legal profession are so profound, the topic could probably fill its own blog.

    At one point in time, I took a few hours to compare the MCAT to the LSAT.

    Notwithstanding the fact that it takes two years of very hard science classes to even be eligible to TAKE the MCAT, while the LSAT requires only a pencil and a heartbeat, the two tests do have some similarities and analogous roles are barriers to entry to professional school. Both are standardized test and therefore the scores are normalized, allowing for a reasonable basis for comparison. I wanted to know the average MCAT percentile for US MD-program enrollees compared it to the same LSAT percentile for JD-program enrollees.

    The results were astounding. The average MCAT score of US MD-based enrollees was something like the 80th percentile of test-takers.

    The LSAT number, and I was using the number from back when applicants were exceeding 100,000 a year, was something close to the 50th percentile.

    Med School: bust your ass on hard-science classes, including organic chemistry, for a minimum of two years, then outperform 80% of your peers on the standardized test (taken only by the subset of your peers who have survived that two-year gauntlet).

    Law School: major in art history and outperform roughly half of your college-enrolled peers.

    Publius Lex

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    1. Another difference is that you can score in the 90th or 95th percentile on the LSAT, wind up at a school like American, and have 35% shot at a lawyer job and a 15% or less shot at a PSLF, biglaw, or AIII job that might allow you to pay off your debt in 10 years. Not so in medical school.

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    2. Publius Lex, how did you get the average MCAT/LSAT figures for enrollees, I would be interested in comparing raw(er) data.

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    3. Try scoring in the 98th percentile from Harvard, Yale or Princeton undergrad, with honors, winding up at a T6, going to BigLaw for a few or many years and then ending up - you got it - unemployed. Unemployed for a long period of time.

      That is the problem. People who could have aced the MCAT and ignorantly went to law school not realizing that it is like acting even if you have a top record.

      The up or out portion of law is deceptive. It gives people the false impression that going to a top law school provides some sort of security in terms of protection against unemployment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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  9. Cherry-picking of metrics is a problem in both cases - US medical health care is only the 'best' if you exclude all the people who aren't covered properly and do not analyse the cost to those who are covered. Every other developed country in the world manages to run their healthcare systems for less (in GDP percentage terms) whilst most deliver better care (in doctor/population ratio terms, hospital bed/population terms, in terms of both life-expectancy and increase in life-expectancy over the last 50 years, in terms of overall healthcare outcomes according to the WHO), so by the metrics that matter, US healthcare just isn't that great in terms of bang-per-buck, but this isn't what you hear from the people who speak on this subject. Instead what you hear is the Megan McArdles of this world banging on about just how great it is that, with her ultra-expensive health insurance, she can get a CAT scan any time she likes, regardless of whether CAT scans are that necessary and are really worth the money spent.

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    1. Even then France boasts a better system - cheaper, better results.

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    2. I have great insurance from my firm. My monthly contribution is over $400.

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    3. Based on my personal experiences with my kids' health care, I believe that far and away the biggest components of US health care costs are hospital room rates. These are exorbitant charges that are not tied to any health care provider, procedure or medication, but are supposedly necessary for "capital funds" or something like that.

      In other words, hospital room rates are a scam directly parallel to LS tuition rates: it's a bunch of 1%-ers playing financial games that are completely disconnected from economic reality.

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  10. LawProf,

    I largely agree, but do wonder if cracks are starting to appear in the med school facade as well:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/15/one-more-thing-for-premed-students-to-freak-out-about/

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    1. As a current medical student I admit this is a concern to me. That article doesn't tell the whole story though: we anticipate that the international grads will be the first to take a hit, followed by the folks who go to the Caribbean schools, followed by the DO students who want to compete for an allopathic (MD) spot. I can't link to the original NEJM article on my phone for some reason, but it seems to be written with that assumption. So there is a bit of a buffer which helps me sleep at night.

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    2. Another point: unlike law schools, medical schools are typically transparent about their student outcomes. They publish their match lists ,so everyone knows how many graduates have a job, and where. None of this law school style "98% employment" BS.

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    3. Not clear if all the residencies publish employment stats. That is important for any med student in the match process for a residency to look at. Some people have to move pretty far from where they want to live to get a job after residency. That is important to know too.

      I was just at my eye doctor at a major medical center. They take only 3 residents a year from hundreds of applicants and about 50 to 50 inteviews. I guess at that rate there should be no problem for the 3 residents in getting jobs. They also need more eye doctors right now in their own facilities, so there are jobs for these residents even at the hospital. That is probably unusual.





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  11. "who treat the increase in the cost of legal education as something akin to a law of thermodynamics, as opposed to a fabulously successful exercise in rent-seeking by people who have captured a regulatory process."

    Bravo.

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  12. I, too, read the Times article and was struck by the similarities between the health care crises and the legal educational crisis. In fact, after reading it, I remember thinking that there are some individuals more evil and worse than law school deans (ie: taking advantage of a person's health crisis is the epitome of greed), which up until then, was inconceivable to me!

    As to why the legal profession has not protected itself while the legal EDUCATIONAL and medical professions have, I think other posters have hit the nail on the head. Who typically heads up the legal educational commissions on the ABA? Legal practitioners? No. Legal EDUCATIONAL professionals. So, we have the fox guarding the henhouse and the fox will do what it can to ensure that regulations are in its favor. It's pretty simple. People look out for their own self-interests and when that clashes with that of others, they will make the decision to protect their own interests.

    Also, medical educational professionals tend to be doctors, so they represent both spectrums of the field. Very rarely do you see a world-reknown medical educator who has never practiced medicine. Because doctors, in order to teach medicine, have to actually practice it and excell at it, medical educators are as invested in their role as doctors as they are as educators. The two are inseperable. Because they are practitioners as well as educators, they make regulations that are to the benefit of both categories.

    This is the opposite of the legal field, where you have a huge dichotomy between those who actually practice law and those who teach it. Legal academics see themselves as very different from the everyday practitioners and when you have the legal educational section of the ABA headed by academics, they will fight for their own needs as opposed to the needs of the practitioners.

    Lastly, although this might not be popular to say, motivation for attending law school is quite different from motivation for attending medical school. To want to save a life and engage in a profession that does just that shows a substantial amount of awareness to others' suffering and wanting to remedy that. It shows a significant degree of empathy that is not necessarily inherent in legal professionals. We, the legal professionals, are bred to win and medical professionals are bred to help. So is it any wonder that those at the top of the legal food chain are not particularly concerned about their less-successful brethen and therefore aren't going to engage in efforts to help them? If the goal is to win and everyone is seen as competition, it makes sense to create rules that further entrench one's success at the expense of the less-fortunate, doesn't it? On the other hand, if the goal is to help, one is more self-reflective and takes the necessary steps to achieve that goal.

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    1. I don't agree with the last paragraph.

      Med and law students go for the same reason. The whole helping BS is very axillary to their goals. They want nice upper middle class lifestyle in a nice city with models and bottles. The only difference is that most med students it get it and most law students are just sorry lowers.

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  13. Like so many economic institutions in the United States, both medicine/health insurance and education are predatory and parasitic.

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  14. Agree with the comments. The ABA has been captured by BIGLAW and academics who feed off the system of easy federal credit. They'd rather rate judges than modernize the model rules or address the concerns of every day lawyers.

    Practicing lawyers need a new lobbying/advocacy group. Let's get it done.

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    1. I see state bars taking a more active role in regulating lawyers. They are the ones who have to deal with the disciplinary complaints.

      Let the antitrust lawsuits come. I'll be more than happy to volunteer in that fight.

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    2. I do not think the system benefits even BigLaw. Because of the oversupply of lawyers, the large firms almost all force partners out long before the age 70 at which they can collect maximum Social Security benefits. When you see people being fired on account of age, there is a problem. If the bosses have to leave BigLaw by age 65 and in many cases long before then, do you seriously believe that any underling will be able to work in BigLaw in their 60s, let alone after age 55?

      Early mandatory retirement hits most lawyers even at BigLaw because of the glut of lawyers.

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  15. @7:32

    You mean to tell me that medical students will have to start working for years in unpaid internships like law graduates do? Wow, I wonder where this is all headed? Given that the investment in education is tending towards not paying off anymore, in 10 years time, we probably will be a nation of uneducated people who decided that it is much better financially to forego an education.

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    1. Welcome to the new feudalism, serf.

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  16. I posted this above - but I think it is worth reiterating - how many of the requirements for conduct of an accrediting agency does anyone see evidence that that ABA is in fact fulfilling?

    34 CFR §602.16 provides in part that criteria for accreditation includes

    (a) The agency must demonstrate that it has standards for accreditation, and preaccreditation, if offered, that are sufficiently rigorous to ensure that the agency is a reliable authority regarding the quality of the education or training provided by the institutions or programs it accredits. The agency meets this requirement if—

    (1) The agency's accreditation standards effectively address the quality of the institution or program in the following areas:

    (i) Success with respect to student achievement in relation to the institution's mission, including, as appropriate, consideration of course completion, State licensing examination, and job placement rates.

    (ii) Curricula.

    (iii) Faculty.

    (iv) Facilities, equipment, and supplies.

    (v) Fiscal and administrative capacity as appropriate to the specified scale of operations.

    (vi) Student support services.

    (vii) Recruiting and admissions practices, academic calendars, catalogs, publications, grading, and advertising.

    (viii) Measures of program length and the objectives of the degrees or credentials offered.

    (ix) Record of student complaints received by, or available to, the agency

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    1. The ABA should be taken out of the accreditation/limiting number of law grads/ outcome, financial and job placement, etc. process or at least be required to run a full time staff to handle this process. The staff should be required to have a board that is representative of law graduates. If two thirds of law grads are solos or unemployed the board should be representative of that group. Law professors are too small a group to have a say.

      The two most important jobs today:
      1. Reducing future law grads way down so the aupply of new grads does not exceed the demand and the existing oversupply of earlier grads is absorbed into legal jobs. This includes closing law schools with poor employment outcomes and making the big guys who overstuff their classes (yes, Harvard, Columbia and NYU - that means you) reduce class size to fit the placement rates in Article 3 clerkships, BigLaw and an extra 10% of that number).
      2. Reducing costs so it is economical for people to go to law school. Shedding administrative staff, increasing teaching loads, and living with old buildings as long as the paint is not falling off the walls and the bathrooms work. Move the law school to the oldest building on campus and sell the bright new building to a developer. Use the proceeds for an endowment to reduce tuition.

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  17. Pretty terrible job of data analysis in this post.

    Comparing the share of US GDP for legal services from 1989 to 2013 to the absolute increase in graduates (24%) during that period is pretty simplistic if you don't account for:
    -population increase (from <250M in the 1990 census to >300M in the 2010 census) of >20%
    -increasing GDP (from c.$8T in 1989 to >$13T in 2013), so that the declining share has to be applied to a base GDP that is almost 60% (5/8) larger
    -comparisons should be made peak to peak or trough to trough, since 1989 was the last year of the Reagan boom, while 2013 seems to be year 5 of a 21st century Depression

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    1. You're missing the point. The market for legal services HAS NOT GROWN. It has declined sharply relative to the rest of the economy, despite the increase in population. That means, even if there were the same number of law graduates today, and those people didn't have to pay any more to get their law degrees, those degrees would be worth LESS than they were 25 years ago relative to other economic options.

      But of course the supply of lawyers has grown, a lot, as has the price of getting a law degree.

      In medicine you have the opposite situation -- the market for medical services has expanded enormously, while the supply of providers of those services has remained constant.

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  18. Nice cite, MacK. I think the institutional mission of law schools is the training of lawyers, not training for "JD Advantage" jobs, and that only the former, and not the latter, should not be considered as part of "job placement rates" for purposes of 34 CFR §602.16. Also, self-employed solos just out of law school, which are rarely doing that by choice, should also not be considered as placed lawyers.

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    1. how do law school report graduates who are unpaid interns nine months after they graduate?

      thanks

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    2. I suspect they report them as employed in either bar passage required or JD advantage jobs. Their salaries, reported or not, must be lumped in with the rest of the "salary not reported" group because $0 salaries never appear in the stats.

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    3. "how do law school report graduates who are unpaid interns nine months after they graduate?

      thanks"


      Same way that the probably do now - 'employed' for that percentage, but not included in the salary figures due to the 'temporary' nature of their jobs.

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  19. Whoops, I meant "should be considered," not "should not be considered."

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  20. The law is still a good choice for many people. The problem is that the "lay" perception of both the law and medicine is that they are on equal footing in regards to earnings/opportunities. To me, this is a larger problem that goes way beyond just law school.

    The current generation of college students is still largely the offspring of non-college grads. The parents have a general misconception that more education at whatever the cost is always a good thing and that you just need the degrees and money will just starts flowing. The parents, working off misleading information from college administrators, agree that it's a good thing for kids to go to expensive schools and get degrees in German Basket-weaving.

    We need the public to blow the lid off this thing. There is already an enormous amount of misinformation being fed into this generation by parents and high school administrators. By the time they realize it was all a lie, they're swimming in debt and have no prospects.

    I can't tell you how many people at my T2 law school are not only paying approximately $150k for a JD, but are doing that ON TOP OF $150k for an undergraduate B.A. degree in something useless.

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    1. Many college-educated parents are just as bad, if not worse, though. For them, it was true that an undergraduate degree in "German basket-weaving" followed by a law degree was a ticket to the good life. Even the undergraduate degree on its own was typcially enough to get a decent start on a corporate career. Of course, in the intervening years the value of those undergraduate degrees and law degrees have become very diluted, but the parents for whom it was a sucessful strategy have not necessarily kept up with the changes in the marketplace.

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    2. "but the parents for whom it was a successful strategy have not necessarily kept up with the changes in the marketplace."

      The parents also paid 30% as much, in inflation-adjusted dollars, for their an undergraduate degree in "German basket-weaving" followed by a law degree, compared to costs today.

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  21. health care is expensive for the same reason as law school. Government involvement through subsidy; guaranteed loans in law school/college in general and the way the tax code is designed it causes the over utilization in insurance for simple care that should be paid out of pocket. we have to get rid of employment mandated health insurance so we can buy health insurance same as car insurance for example.

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    1. Agree 100%. Did you see the article regarding health costs on cnn yesterday? The author cited one instance where a hospital charged $77 for 4 gauze pads.

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    2. I received four stitches once. The hospital charged three grand. The doctor charged $600 even though he was only in the room for a minute as the nurse did all the work. I'm pretty sure hey just make up numbers and see how much they get.

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    3. Funny you should mention that, because I just opened up my mail and got a bill for $177 for a visit to one of those rip off urgent care places (it was at the weekend) and all they did was weigh me, take my blood pressure, then tell me what I already kind of knew, which was that I had an ear infection. Antibiotics prescribed (which hardly requires medical training), which I paid for separately, and the whole thing took 5 minutes. Or 2 hours waiting for that five minutes. And I was not even seen by a doctor, but a PA.

      For-profit medicine is a scam. Doctors getting paid over $200K per year is a fucking scam too. Don't they all do it because they love helping people and want to make a difference? Strange how those ideals fly out the window when someone gets a tumor and is frightened and the doc can cure it but only when he's paid $500K as a fucking surgeon working three days a week.

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    4. 3:21,

      Not to sound snarky, but what are you going to tell the doctor? I don't want to pay you because you're too expensive?

      His response: Enjoy your AIDS.

      Delete
    5. And that's exactly the point I was making. You have to pay the doctor, and you have to pay whatever artificial, ego-stroking, superGod price he wants. But nobody questions this assraping. Doctors are gods.

      But with a lawyer, you go to one when you're in legal trouble, you need his help, and you balk at paying more than you'd happily pay a fucking electrician. Because lawyers are scum, even though they run the same scam as doctors - the "I set the price because you're in trouble and need my help" scam.

      Fuck doctors.

      And what's worse, he can happily say "enjoy your AIDS". But if a lawyer dares to refuse services, there's countless judges, ABA members, and professors who are happy to "volunteer" the services of lawyers for free. Want to get admitted to the bar? Well, new lawyer, that's going to cost you ten hours of pro bono work.

      Fuck how upside down and inside out our professions are.

      Delete
  22. Excellent cite and analysis, MacK. I think the reason that the ABA has chosen not to enforce this is because the legal profession is a litigious bunch and the minute the ABA tries to step up to the plate, it will be sued galore. And being sued costs a lot. Let's just face it, unemployed grads and unhappy legal professionals are far less likely to sue the ABA (they haven't so far) than a well-established (and wealthy) law school w/ lots of funds to devote to the goal.

    And as for why the ABA hasn't protected practicing lawyers as much, the section of the ABA that accredits law schools is made up of what? Law school deans. And what is better for law school administrators and educators? More schools or less schools? More students or less? What benefits legal academia is obviously detrimental to those in practice, but those in practice aren't on the law school accrediting board of the ABA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would argue that lowering the costs and number of schools/students IS better for law school administrators in the long run. It's better for the market to consolidate on its own and get to a point of efficiency than for the market to implode on itself.

      Delete
    2. The ABA could use the regulation to mount a pretty well perfect Noerr Pennington defence - the US DoE made us look at your job placement rates and bar passage - it is in the regs. Indeed they probably also could use Noerr Pennington to argue that salaries as a function of education cost must be considered.

      Delete
  23. By the way, has anyone had this happen to them? I was a student member of the ABA when I was a law school student. Since I graduated a few years back, I have not paid any membership fees and had no interest in joining them.

    Oddly enough, I got an unsolicited ABA membership card in the mail and now get the ABA Journal regularly delivered to me. I have not asked for either but it seems they have counted me as a member.

    Is this something they are doing to increase their memberships? How can they claim I am a member when I did not sign up?

    ReplyDelete
  24. The problem in both these scenarios - health care and law school - is that "who pays the bills" is connected with "why the bills are so high". One reason (among many) that the cost of law school is so high is because the costs are not immediately borne by the student. The costs are passed along to a third party - the taxpayer/federal government - for three years which creates some distorted incentives. This is also true of health care. In both cases, I AM NOT arguing a glibertarian market-oriented response. But I'm saying there's something to that as at least ONE aspect of the the reason why law schools are so expensive. Health care too. But health care is a right. Law school is a joke.

    ReplyDelete
  25. So medical schools have kept the supply of doctors down, thereby increasing the price each doctor can charge, thereby increasing the cost to the general public.

    Yet you are portraying medical schools as the good guys in all of this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is balancing supply and demand. Doctors make $60,000 for 3-4 years after 4 years of med school. Some medical specialties require physical skills and no one is sure they can work in their 50s or beyond. I think the price is justified by the long time it takes to become a doctor and the opportunity costs doctors give up.

      Delete
  26. From the article: "Medicare takes seriously the notion that nonprofit hospitals should be paid for all their costs but actually be nonprofit after their calculation."

    Medicare hasn't increased what it pays for the pathologist's technical component since 1982.

    Medicare distorts the healthcare market because it sets the prices de facto. The reason that dermatologists make $300k while PCPs make $150 is largely due to how Medicare regulates the market.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That may be so. Is so hard to become a dermatologist today. A very small percentage of med students make it into derm.

      Also one needs sales ability to make $300 in derm. Not every derm makes that.

      Being able to get $150 as a PCP is a lot better than law. If a PCP gets fired and fired again, he/she can rent office space shared with other doctors, sign up with a few insurance cos and still get the $150. A lawyer in that position is likely to be making nothing or almost nothing.

      Also if you are a PCP and you leave the coasts, and go somewhere less popular for doctors, you can get $250 and still end up in a good place, I am told.

      Delete
    2. Dermatology is the pinnacle of the medicine scam. Glorified beauticians, prescribing beauty treatments for the most part. $300K? That's low for a derm in private practice.

      You don't need sales ability. Even that is done for you by women's magazines and their bullshit little articles about how to remove wrinkles and is that pimple cancer or are freckles ugly. I went to a derm office once and it really was like a fucking makeup department at Macy's.

      Delete
    3. Sad where people's priorities are these days. Some people are willing to pay a ton for plastic surgery, but when they are sick, they flash their free clinic card and scream for health care reform.

      Delete
  27. The problem here is that even going to the best schools and having the best academic record and working like a dog does not protect a lawyer from long-term unemployment. The longitudinal outcomes if they were available would be starkly different for law and medicine. What do you think the median income of minorities is from Columbia Med School as compared to Columbia Law 10 to 40 years out? Try the median incomes of women or of white males from these schools 10 to 40 years out? I think the differences are vast.

    ReplyDelete
  28. From the standpoint of being a good student with a good record, anyone in this category is taking a huge risk of unemployment going to law school. Much less of a risk going to med school. Because of the stupid BLS numbers put out, the high risk of unemployment even from top law schools was not apparent.

    My Harvard, Yale, Princeton undergrad had Nobel Prize winning economists. I majored in economics. The most important thing I needed to know they did not teach me - how to ascertain the career path in which I had the best chance of working. F___ them. They sent over 20% of each undergrad class to law school.

    This was long before the age of the internet.

    The most important thing for a friging college to teach is how one chooses a career, and how to find out if the d__n career is glutted with far too many workers.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Well, actually if you graduate from Medical School, you don't necessary get to be a doctor. The reason is that you have to go through residency first, and the openings for residencies are less than the number of doctors that they are graduating.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/15/one-more-thing-for-premed-students-to-freak-out-about/

    ReplyDelete
  30. Not true. US seniors at allopathic med schools have a very high match rate as do US seniors at osteopathic med schools.

    The foreign grads and non-seniors lose out.

    For competitive specialties the US seniors who are MDs prevail.

    2011 residency match analysis is below.

    http://www.nrmp.org/data/resultsanddata2011.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  31. At most good med schools, by the way, very few students do not get one of their listed choice of med schools and end up in scramble, where one has to take what is left over. I never heard of anyone from a top med school not getting a residency.

    I guess if you have low Level 1 and Level 2 test scores (tests on which residency placements are based), poor grades, no research papers and only apply to plastic surgery residency ( the most competitive specialty) you may end up in scramble. Most people are more realistic, have advisors to help them, and know how many residency interviews they are getting. If you have a wide enough field and pick specialties and hospitals that are realistic based on your credentials, you ought to get a residency as a U.S. allopathic or osteopathic med school senior.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just looking more closely, the match rate for U.S. allopathic senior (MDs) is almost 100%. It is the osteopathic seniors who are falling in match rates for allopathic residencies. There are both allopathic and ostepathic residencies and the data attached above excludes osteopathic residencies. Not sure what the placement rates for osteopathic seniors is counting all residencies, but surely a lot higher than for law school grads.

      In fact the match rate for foreign trained doctors may be on a par for the placement rate of US law students in jobs. So it may be that a Carribean med school gives a person the same chance of working as a JD does in a US law school.

      You need to take into account that the US law school placement rates include law school funded jobs.

      Delete
    2. p. 18 below has the 2012 match numbers for allopathic residencies. Very high for U.S. allopathic med school seniors.

      http://www.nrmp.org/data/resultsanddata2012.pdf

      Delete
  32. It's quite disappointing to read this post on this blog, since I usually like everything I read on here (long story, but this blog helped me decide not to go to law school). Anyway, my point is that there's nothing wrong with doctors getting paid a lot of money. When doctors are not compensated adequately, the whole healthcare system suffers. Two countries that I personally have experience with are the United Kingdom and Russia. In both of these countries, doctors make way less than in the US, and healthcare in those countries really, really sucks. Medicine is an extremely difficult field. It's way harder and way more important than law (because, you know, people's very lives are in a doctor's hands) and there is nothing wrong with generously compensating people who choose to go into this field.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To use a very blunt metric, as of 2010 average life expectancy in the UK was 2.2 years better than in the US. The US spends more per capita and more of its wealth as a % of GDP on healthcare than every other country on earth, both by fairly wide margins. And you're worried about doctors (maybe, possibly) taking a haircut? Let me guess, daddy is a doctor?

      Delete
    2. Your metric is pretty meaningless. Did you know Japanese Americans in New Jersey have a life expectancy of over 90?

      Demographics - learn about it

      Delete
    3. I'll take your bait then. If it's just about "demographics," whatever the f**k that means, then I guess we don't need to pay doctors that much, given their limited effect on what is apparently "demographic" destiny.

      Delete
  33. Healthcare in the UK sucks - not really. I avail of it from time to time. It is not perfect, but it is not a mess.

    Russia has become the sort of private system that the Republicans think is wonderful - interesting testimony on that point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been treated over there too. It's a commonly circulated myth that there are huge waitlists and a lack of treatments and shit like that. It is every bit as modern as over here, with treatments that are at the cutting edge, and while I might not be able to walk into a hospital and demand an MRI right now like I could over here, they get they treatment they need at a price that is right.

      But Fox News and shit like that loves to frighten people with stupid stories from "Europe" about socialized medicine, when in reality, ít's a mess over here, a profession overtaken with outright greed.

      Give me France's system any day. Or the UK's.

      Oh yeah, it's also a myth that taxes are really high because of this too. Their taxes are comparable. They just choose to spend their tax money on medicine instead of the military.

      And don't even get me started on the military scam, which is basically a Republican-approved welfare system for dummies, fatties, lazy people, etc. Not every "hero" is a fucking SEAL, out there killing Osama for us each day. Most are the idiots whose choice in life was military or unemployment. Yeah, they chose better than unemployment, but cooking meals abroad or cleaning tanks or sitting behind desks stateside or all the other 99% of the military jobs that don't involve actually getting shot at or much danger whatsoever hardly is worth giving those losers a golden ticket for life.

      Delete
    2. They don't need to spend money on their own defense. We pay for a lot of it.

      Just saying ...

      Delete
    3. Not really. There is no reason for our massive military other than billions in useless defense pork to certain states, and Republicans wanting to hide unemployment in their own states by encouraging the fake heroism of joining the military and doing fuck all for four years instead of signing up for unemployment.

      It has nothing to do with global peace, defense, or anything like that. It's politics, that special brand of US politics where dollars talk and common sense walks.

      Aside from some messed up countries and a little terrorism (and yes, it's really a little - your chances of dying in a terrorist attack are far less than your chances of being killed by lightning, for god's sake), the world is rather safe. Messed up, but relatively safe. And while we need a strong military, we don't need one that is realistically ten times as large as it needs to be for adequate defense, deterrant, and global assistance.

      So what you're just saying is correct, it's also not a good excuse for our military spending. We could and should spend half, if not a quarter of what we spend, trim some of the fat, and stop making stupid military decisions (Iraq for example) that are based on politics not safety and security.

      Delete
  34. Here's some figures the ABA should look at--

    Employment/Full Time Legal

    1995--86.7/70.7

    2011--85.6/65.4

    Oops, sounds like there is an increase in the # of law school graduates relative to the rest of the population, right?

    Population/JD enrolled/Pop/ABA Law School

    1995--2,057/1.49m

    2011--2,129/1.55m

    Not as simple as too many schools (though that is a problem, as is the number of JDs hitting the market), but employment rates were higher historically going back to the early 1980s with a higher number of enrolled law students and law school per capita.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Brill's article sounds like medical billing is even more fantastical than law firm billing. But that's only a problem if you get sick or injured. I hope to run out the clock until Medicare time.

    ReplyDelete
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  37. @1:47 (Natalie), @1:57 (MacK) & @3:33 (Anonymous):

    I happened to have lived in several countries in Europe and was extremely impressed w/ the medical systems there. It was the only time I was able to get medical care. I could never afford it here. In France, I injured myself in a skiing accident and had a doctor treat me for $25.00.

    Years later, in law school, I got seriously injured in a bike accident. Couldn't afford to see the doctor - it would have cost me thousands of dollars. Fortunately, a fellow law student was a nurse and graciously assisted me.

    Always thought it was funny that as an American taxpayer, I can't even afford to get my medical cares taken care of in my own country and the only time I can afford healthcare is when I travel overseas...

    To anyone who does get injured, I would save enough money so that you can travel overseas to get treated. If not, you will be left bankrupt and in even more debt than what you are in in law school, like the people LawProf referenced in his post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least you can bankrupt your way out of medical debt. I am seriously considering moving abroad as that seems to be the only way I can avoid being hammered by my lifetime of student debt.

      The great USA. Where the average person can't afford good healthcare, and where student debt cripples you for life.

      That's what makes us The Best Country In The World, I suppose. Look at all those silly Europeans with their, er, their evil welfare systems, evil public healthcare, evil high standards of living, evil respect for the middle class (compared to us), their evil distaste for wealth being funneled upwards, etc.

      Delete
    2. Well, 6:30, given what federal intervention into legal education has done I'm not so sure I want them involved with my health.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I have come some advice to about Hvac School or Hvac Training nationwide."

      ...better than law school...

      Delete
  39. One of the big advantages doctors have over lawyers is that most of a doctor's pay comes from insurance, either public or private. Most middle and upper middle class jobs come with health insurance. The elderly get Medicare while the poor get Medicaid.

    For the most part, there is no comparable system of legal insurance. One rarely sees a good pre-paid legal services plan.

    The public does pay for attorneys in limited circumstances. Prosecutors tend to be public employees, as are public defenders. But these jobs do not tend to pay particularly well.

    Also, private practitioners can try to get court appointments, but they do not pay well either. For example, in Colorado, court appointed attornesy are paid about $63 per hour, and those fees are capped. This is a far cry from the hourly rates received by doctors through programs like Medicare.

    Aside from the limited public positions and court appointments, lawyers use the hope and pray method of getting paid. After they do the work, they hope and pray they get paid.

    ReplyDelete
  40. "In 1989, legal services accounted for approximately $157 billion, in 2005 dollars, of US GDP. In 2011 that same figure (again in 2005 dollars) was $156 billion."

    Between 1989 and 2011, the legal sector has not continuously shrunk as implied. Law as a percent of GDP has gone up and down in that time period. So you can't rule out the possibility just based on recent history that in 2020, law will be 1.3% of GDP rather than the 1% it is now.

    ReplyDelete
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  43. Once a person is over age 50, there is a stark difference between law and medicine.

    Doctors can keep working over 50.

    Not so with most lawyers.

    Older people are weeded out of law. Over 50 - you will not get hired as a lawyer unless you have business. You likely will lose your job as an over 50 lawyer.

    Major law firms in NY City will not employ any lawyers over the age of 65. Blanket rule and they get away with it. EEOC protects partners over age 65 but non partner lawyers can be fired on account of age because they are peons not deserving of protection.

    Doctors routinely work in their 70s. Lawyers are weeded out long before the and it is hard for most lawyers to hold a real legal job in their 50s or 60s.

    ReplyDelete
  44. It is very important for a 0L to understand the very high liklihood of unemployment for lawyers who came out of big firms and top law schools after they hit age 50. There is almost no market for T6 law grads after they hit age 50. Few over age 50 lawyers are able to get real legal jobs in the private sector. Do not count on working after age 50 from a T6 law school and making money. The odds of holding a real legal job get worse for each year after age 50.

    ReplyDelete
  45. A critical step in correcting the high level of unemployment in the legal profession and the 700,000 to one million disappeared law school graduates is for the EEOC to require larger law firms to have age-balanced legal staffs and to hire and retain significant numbers of experienced lawyers.

    The 700,000 to one million unemployed lawyers are in large part an enforcement failure by the EEOC. The EEOC has refused to enforce the problem of disparate impact age discrimination in the legal profession. With the record of ruining lives that the current legal system has produced, even for those lawyers who got good jobs to start, the time has come for the EEOC to use its enforcement powers in the sphere of larger law firms. The hiring and retention policies need to age-righted.

    Larger law firms need to have balanced populations of old and young lawyers, even in the associate ranks. They need to hire significant numbers of lawyers over the age of 40 and 50 when there are openings. Only with governmental enforcement to produce an age-balanced workforce in larger law firms will the problem of large scale unemployment in the legal profession start to be fixed.

    Too many graduating lawyers is surely a problem, but the problem of bringing lawyers into a system where so many of the half who get jobs will be unable to work a few or several years later needs to be fixed by agressive governmental enforcement.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Yeah, that's the ticket: let the GOVERNMENT fix it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh how clever of you!

      I wonder if you took the same position with Iraq and Afghanistan, because the GOVERNMENT has done a stellar job fixing those problems.

      Go back to cleaning your AR-15 and driving your F-150, redneck teabagger. The government works just fine when it's not full of extremists elected by people like you. And what's the alternative? Let private companies fix it? Like Wall Street, maybe? Because we can trust them.

      Delete
    2. Wow, you are easy to troll.
      Not 504

      Delete
    3. 504 no troll. A serious comment.

      Delete
  47. Speaking of doctors...why cant the sick animal who keeps obliterating our office toilet see a gastroenterologist? Healthcare reform is neede to allow us to have this animal involuntarily commited to a gsstroenterological treatment center! If I have to walk in and see another huuuge rotten "Seton Hall Law" sticking out of the toilet im going to resign in protest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yawn. Funny the first time. Hundredth time, not so much.

      Delete
  48. Another few differences between doctors and lawyers:

    Even though medicine has its TTTs (which are DO schools, admitting some idiots who should never be allowed near a pair of rubber gloves), MDs will defend them to the hilt as being just as good and just as qualified. In private, I'm sure some top tier MDs make fun of some of the DOs, but in general, a doc is a doc is a doc.

    But for lawyers, there is active, rampant ranking, claims of being better than those who attended different schools (even though the quality of education is the same), prestige-whoring, backstabbing, and a whole culture of putting down anybody who is "lesser" than you.

    MDs can work not just anywhere in the US, but anywhere in the entire world, pretty much. A JD can work, if lucky, in the state where he took the bar exam. 1/50th of the entire country. No international. No mobility.

    And what's worse, most students who got into decent JD programs could have easily gone to medical school (yeah, MD trolls, it's about volume of work rather than difficulty), and could have walked into DO programs. Yet now they are stuck with debt, no prospects, and they are just wasted brains. Some of our brighter brains, just wasted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with all of this.
      I want to say though that being a doctor is a very different job than law. I for one had no interest in the actual work of being a doctor: it is a hard, messy job for most specialities. Even those that aren't: I didn't want to be a radiologist telling people whether they had cancer. It just wasn't for me.

      As for different stAtes and portability, it is possible to waive into other bars. I'm licensed in a couple of states. New york's rules of notion practice are unlike anything in my other state. I needed to learn that stuff as a beginning lawyer.


      It is clear that the ABA has completely failed in its purpose . We need to address that along with the lies and the greed of the schools endlessly and needlessly raising tuition.

      Delete
    2. Actually the DO schools have people with high GPAs and lower MCATs. You would be surprised, but they are pretty competitive. It shows in terms of employment outcomes, which are much better than for law schools.

      I would guess that in terms of real full time permanent jobs that pay six figures, the DO schools give the T6 law schools a run for the money once one gets 20 or more years out.

      The DO schools quite likely have better job prospects for a 50+ year old doctor who started school at the average age at that school than Columbia or NYU Law Schools have for many of their 50+ year old lawyers who started law school at the median age there. If you took the figures for 50+ year old women or 50+ year old minorities, the DO schools are likely to beat Columbia and NYU Law Schools by leaps and bounds in terms of availability of real full time permanent jobs that grads actually have and likely also in median pay. The problem is so many 50+ experienced lawyers from Columbia and NYU earn little or nothing because there are no open lawyer jobs for them. Not true at the DO schools.

      Delete
    3. Could some JDs hack it in an allopathic school? Probably, but certainly not all of them. Remember:
      2x ochem
      2x gen chem
      2x bio
      2x writing
      plus biochem
      plus mcat
      Plus an extra year of school
      plus all THREE Step exams versus one bar
      Plus a multi-year residency.
      In addition to higher volume, the work is simply more difficut. There isn't really a contest.

      Delete
    4. Clearly most T6 or T14 JDs could hack it in allopathic med school. A lot of those JDs made the uninformed choice to go to law school not realizing the high risk of unemployment from a T6 or T14 law school, especially later in their careers. The point is that even the best law school is a throw of the dice in terms of actually being able to have a career as a lawyer and being able to work as long as one wants, or long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits.

      Delete
    5. What is so galling about this is that employment data was not available to prospective students when it should have been available years. The most important data for a student evaluating a career is the ability to use a degree to get full time permanent employment that lasts a career. The BLS numbers that are spit out each year are bull___t. What use are these numbers if two thirds of all law grads are in fact unemployed and the BLS shows the number as a 1% or 2% unemployment rate among lawyers. The BLS numbers are not only useless- they are misleading and contribute to a high level of structural unemployment in the United States. People educated as lawyers are huge contributors to structural unemployment in the U.S. because there are much too many people educated as lawyers for the number of jobs. Hence most lawyers are under or unemployed.

      Delete
    6. Chemistry isn't that hard and neither is organic. Both are easier than law school because you just have to study hard and memorize stuff to get A's.

      Delete
    7. Forgot to add: 2x physics. Point taken though, 11:29. Once you're in, you're set.

      Delete
    8. Yes, as far as prereqs are concerned, it's not like JD applicants can just jump over to an MD track.

      But with a year in a post-bac program (which gives all the prereqs, plus volunteer experience etc.), I would say that a mildly-competent JD applicant who was aiming at a T-50 school, with some focus, could easily be competitive for some low-end MD schools, and could walk into plenty of DO TTTs.

      You know what the sadder part of all this is? That when I take my kids to the doctor and it's the DO treating them, I don't think, "Oh fuck, a TTT grad." I think, "Oh, cool. A doctor who is down to earth."

      After all, medicine isn't brain surgery. Except the brain surgery part of it. The rest of it is pretty much stating the obvious, and being legally allowed to write the prescription for the drugs to cure it.

      Delete
    9. An M. D. is not the only way to go. There is plenty of work for nurses and various medical technicians. The training program for these positions are not all that long or difficult, Student loans are forgiven in 3 to 4 years.

      Delete
    10. People on this forum wouldn't become a nurse or technician. They want a high status job. They want to impress people by saying they are a lawyer or at least in law school. Let's face it, its a pretty stupid, superficial bunch here. But if they were smart they wouldn't have fallen for third law school's lies. You didn't have to do much research, even before 2008, to learn that most grads of third rate law schools do poorly.

      Delete
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  50. I know a married couple, both doctors. Both went to regional, state schools that were not particularly highly ranked. Both had credentials to get in more highly ranked schools, but went to state schools to keep down costs, since they knew they would get jobs.

    Today, in their late 30's, they live in a million dollar home in a large city, send their kids to private school, etc. They aren't particularly opulent people, either. The home purchase was to protect assets from, you guessed it, potential litigation, as they live in a state where the family home is protected in the event of a malpractice claim.

    Do not get me wrong, they earn their money, and I wouldn't want to get the late night calls that they get, nor do I envy the stress that they have. They also spent most of their twenties and early thirties working insane hours for not a great deal of pay in their intern/residency years.

    I'm not suggesting that lawyers should have the same set up necessarily, but it would be very nice if we could tell graduates that they could depend on 1) a job in the field and 2) a lifestyle commensurate with the risk they took and investments they made in terms of both time and money when they made the choice to go to law school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you don't understand is that its hard to get into medical school whereas any idiot can get into law school. The vast majority of people commenting this forum wouldn't have a chance of gettng into medical school; in fact many of them probably decided they wanted to lawyers after washing out of pre-med.

      Delete
  51. Just to comment, one other really trashy thing done to older lawyers who have aged out of BigLaw - they become counsel to a firm with under 20 lawyers or under 55 lawyers. The counsel slot does not give the older lawyer a physical office or guarantee the older lawyer a dime of pay. It is merely a place on the firm's website. Sometimes the firm does not even have an office where the older lawyer works. Maybe this firm will give the older lawyer work and maybe not. The firm likes this arrangement because it makes the firm "look bigger than we are."

    Black magic here- the older lawyer is "employed". He is counsel to a 10 or 50 lawyer firm. In reality the older lawyer has almost no income from the practice of law. Maybe he got paid for a few hours a year. He is working out of his basement or bedroom desperately trying to get legal work.

    Is this older lawyer really considered employed? Let's say this lawyer is in his 40s or 50s. This is window dressing. A lawyer in name only but a respectable degree (maybe from a T6) and maybe a great BigLaw pedigree.

    That is how many BigLaw alums end up if they cannot get or keep an in house position. Window dressing as lawyers.

    Never happens with a doctor. He or she can sign up with an insurance company, rent an office with other doctors, buy malpractice insurance, and the patients will come. There is income behind the doctor, even from the worst med school, as long as it is a U.S. allo or osteo med school.

    The former BigLaw lawyer in this example starves. He cannot get enough business to make a decent living.

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