Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Put on a Brave Face and Hope for the Best

Once a fledgling Japanese-English major, Ross is a departing 3L at NYU and poised to enter the world of large national law firms.  He's also doing God's work.
Should we, the Class of 2016, have bothered? The reality is that the job market may have looked a lot better in 2013. So why did we forge ahead?

When I decided to go to law school, there was growing optimism. Things had gotten verifiably better after the Great Recession. We still heard horror stories, but the economy was on the uptick and firms seemed to be hiring again. Though a J.D. was no longer the safe bet it once was, it still had a sheen of respectability and challenge. It was also a logical choice for many of us that were on the fence about our future.
Law school, the logical choice.  Though not even yet a bar member, Ross, it seems, is already deft at presenting conclusory arguments without serious factual premises, and his willingness to shill and wax nostalgic about the halcyon days of 2013 bodes well for an illustrious career in larger law firms.  Most people don't become bullshit-spewin' true believers until after a few sleep-deprived late-nighters in the conference room, but early indoctrination is a sign of educational evolution.

He also gives a pulsing, Grishamesque (Grishamian?) insight into what it's like to be the law school equivalent of the upper middle class for those of us who ate sliced hot dogs off cardboard:
...[A]n inscrutable flurry of interviews marked the end of our summer. Stress levels were astronomic. All we could do was put on a brave face and hope for the best.  Those students who stepped out of class to take their “callbacks” were regarded with a mix of congratulations and apprehension.
Inscrutable flurry!  Thrilling!  When's the film adaptation?!

For me, the only inscrutable flurry was the number of applications going out and the daily zip-zapping of depressed neurons compelling me to the slow realization that the opportunities presented were mostly illusory and that I was stuck on the wrong half of a drawbridge that went up in the middle of a fiery plague, to where the people on the other side will be shocked if I'm still alive in five years.

But diverse viewpoints are important, law school taught me, and I'll give Ross's vantage credence.  If you just "put on a brave face and hope for the best" and manage to enroll in one of the many, many fine law schools that leads to respectable placement rates, everything will be A-OK.  Get ready for some "callbacks," buckos, and not from Sallie Mae!
So can I conscionably recommend law school? I think I can....
In a conclusion that's by no means premature, you bet your sweet Pravda ass you can!  People tried to "warn[] off" this young man, but he didn't listen; he wanted to be a "professional problem solver" and "felt like lawyering would force [him] into other walks of life, wrack [his] brains, and learn more about [him]self."

Now he's got the chance.  You do, too.  Many people who go down the road may wind up being mugged and left for the vultures and maggots, but the ones who get to the inn at the other end of the woods can fuckin' rhapsodize about it.


  1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingApril 20, 2016 at 5:49 PM

    The piece seems balanced for a twenty something...he obviously can't say "I just wasted three years and 150K of taxpayer money developing a relationship with Mrs. Palsgraff. He unwittingly identifies the real issue why law school is such a bad deal for many. It is the "terminus" for a BA that nobody has an idea of what to do with. In other words, many folks attend law school because they are still "drifting" around like a piece of intergalactic flotsam. They don't have a particular passion for law or a subject matter so they will end up in Doc Review or Solo practice flopping around or even depressed searching for career "fulfillment."

  2. He's the type of lemming the law schools love: smile, take a phone book up the ass, and ask for more!

    By "love," I mean that the law school pigs are happy to financially rape you for life. After all, they need to "open up the doors of the profession to those who have been historically denied the opportunity."

  3. This scam will never end. There is no way anyone that did the tiniest bit of research in 2010 would attend law school.

    2013? Are you kidding me?

    At least most of us that really got killed graduated in the 2007-2009 classes. We graduated right into the Great Recession and didn't have all this information. Scam blogs really started in 2009, and the NYT article came out in 2010.

    If anything, the scam blog movement kind of really began to die down sometime after 2013. It's still there though now, just a lot less bloggers, with less need as its become common knowledge and there are so many other resources for it. Like LST, the mainstream articles, etc.

    1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingApril 22, 2016 at 12:24 PM

      Even with full disclosure and this information out there, Law Schools will still enroll students. Why? Your name is Amber Madison or Jake and you were born in 1993. You graduated from Central Baptist Torah Tech with a DEGREE in Psychology with a 2.45 You got a job in a cube taking orders for Diabetes supplies. It is sooooooooo boring. You then take a new job as an Assistant manager for shoes at Ross or as an Assitant Regional Manager for Wendy's. You are now a retail monkey earning 42K per year and you work an irregular 70 hours per week with no holidays. You come home and see Alicia Floreck running around in beautiful clotes drinking wine from Costco. Your mother tells you that you argue good. BAM. LAW SCHOOL!!!!!!! So, you like warm weather and San Diago sounds FAB. You apply to Thomas Jefferenson Johm Marshall (Chicago), Cooley and Valpo as back ups. All schools accept your application. At least if you can't get a job, you can always hang a shingle as a Solo and make 30-40K. You won't have to work 75 hours a week, holidays are yours and you can drink wine just like Alicia Floreck.

    2. My cousin runs a McDonalds and gets over $80K. He makes more than most of the lawyers I know---not to mention free food.

    3. @12:09 I would say your cousin gets to eat free. Calling it "food" is dressing it up a bit.

    4. @7:56 -- @12:09 here.

      I suppose you're right. My cousin has gained a lot of weight the past few years. LOL

  4. "For me, the only inscrutable flurry was the number of applications going out and the daily zip-zapping of depressed neurons compelling me to the slow realization that the opportunities presented were mostly illusory and that I was stuck on the wrong half of a drawbridge that went up in the middle of a fiery plague, to where the people on the other side will be shocked if I'm still alive in five years."

    Oh, hell yes. This statement is gold. I survived the plague, I guess, but ten years out the pockmarks and mange are with me for life.

  5. Interestingly, I am seeing some of the same search for "fulfillment" among those who want to become veterinarians because they want to "help animals" or fulfill their "lifelong passion". They soon regret it when they realize not everyone loves their cat or dog as much as they love their own and they just want the cheap, easy and 100% successful solution for sometimes serious and not easily corrected problems.

  6. Problem is that the big law job for this NYU grad is most likely short-term.

    Any idea of what he is going to do when he is bumped off the track? Maybe there is a follow up job there that lasts long enough warrants a $250,000 degree. Probably not though for the 40 or so years he needs to work to make a career.

    Teachers get $115,000 in NY City after 20 years plus another 75% of that in benefits. This guy is going to struggle to break six figures after he hits 40 or 45.

    That is the scam from top law schools - big law jobs with good salaries and bonuses and health benefits that don't last. Like a Ponzi scheme in the sense that the new classes of grads push out the old, and a good number of the old are left with nothing in terms of a legal career, and often nothing that would warrant going to NYU Law School.

  7. Campos' statement that the legal job market gets worse and worse for lawyers each year is very important for prospective law students to understand.

    Big law jobs are not new jobs. They are vacated by another lawyer who was likely pushed out. You need retirements, people leaving law or growth in jobs to create post-big law jobs. That growth has not occurred in the last 8 or 9 years.

    Numerically, people have to be thrown out of the legal profession to keep up the big law Ponzi scheme. Probably 5,000 or 6,000 firings from big law every year. Creates a lot of pressure on a non-growing job market for lawyers.

  8. For someone who has reached the pinnacle of popularity in every school and group and has strong academics, law school may be worth a shot. If you are a middling nerd or not able to enter the highest level of the caste system in your high school and elementary school, law school is a bad bet. You need extraordinary social skills to succeed on top of going to a T8 law school.

  9. "It was also a logical choice for many of us that were on the fence about our future."

    Translation: I suck at math and I get to kick the can down the road for three years.

    1. Yeah, since when is it "logical" to sign up for a quarter of a million dollars' worth of non-dischargeable debt at high interest without having a plan for using the degree (which is what "on the fence" means)? Lots of lemmings do just that, but there's nothing logical about it—rather the reverse.

  10. Unfortunately,many strong math and science students went to law school before the cat was out of the bag about how risky law is as career. Thanks to the internet, fewer lives will be wasted or made miserable.

    People are still going to law school in large numbers in spite of the risk being known. They are dumb. Even Harvard or Yale Law School presents a substantial risk of being underemployed or a temp at age 50.

    Today, it is the disappearing [add the name of a T8 law school] law degree. Once you hit a certain age - maybe it is 45 or maybe later, almost impossible to get interviews for attorney jobs, let alone jobs.

    The lawyer jobs those people had when they were younger disappeared at the drop of a hat. Field after field of fallen soldiers there. Harvard or Yale are toilet degrees at that age for most people because there is not any demand for most lawyers' services after age 45 or 50.

    Forget working as a lawyer in your 60s and making anything close to the median lawyer income, or even six figures on an average basis. Will not happen for most lawyers. Doctors, on the other hand, can work full-time for as long as they want and can easily make $100,000 a year working part-time.