Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wall Street Journal article on lawyer TTTemp jobs

The WSJ just did an article on the rise of Contract/Temp attorneys (I initially put attorney in quotes and then removed them). It's behind a paywall but accessible if you come in through Google News. Interestingly, the WSJ put contract in quotes. Whatever.

There's nothing new here to anyone who reads scamblogs, particularly Tom the Temp. In fact, the WSJ was itself probably the first mainstream publication to call attention to the scam, with its landmark Hard Case: Job Market Wanes for U.S. Lawyers in September 2007. That article immortalized Scott Bullock of Big Debt, Small Law and should have been sufficient to knock sense into anyone considering law school. Should have been.

The piece features a 37-year-old American U grad and describes his life as a coder. Dickensian working conditions, $50K annual compensation, lengthy unemployment, and assignments that end abruptly. The WSJ quotes NALP in saying that 10% of private practice jobs graduates accepted last year were temporary. Paul Campos, who I commented on here, would beg to differ on the 10%. Further, he notes that NALP itself collects data on but does not publish distinctions between permanent and temporary work.

The change to temporary attorneys is driven by cost-conscious clients of marquee law firms who probably resented paying for green associates in the first place. The Journal is a bit behind the times in not mentioning offshoring, onshoring to U.S. backwaters, or technology that will dispense with law grads altogether, but on the whole it's a respectable effort that accurately portrays a segment of the presTTTigious legal "profession" circa 2011.

Speaking of Bullock, I'm about 99% certain that he is the poster areyouinsane in the TLS thread no doubt inspired by the WSJ article. Writing style and anecdotes are identical; not many people begin their sentences with "You see,". He's apparently moving to Turkey. Naturally, the TLS rocket scientists suspect he's a flame, even as they content themselves in the knowledge that this temporary attorney nastiness only happens to "other" people.


  1. That areyouinsane thread is funny, not only for what the Bullock-clone says, but also for the absurd reactions. A few think it's a put-on while the other end this it's gut-busting, publication-worthy comedy. Say what?!

    I don't normally read TLS, and a gut feeling tells me I wouldn't like it if I tried

  2. TLS is a comedy goldmine, mostly unintentional, but you have to read through a lot of crap to get to it.

    Also, that's not a clone. I read his posts in other threads. It's got to be Scott. It can only be Scott. He's ditched the SHU tirades. Too bad he's wasting his time in law when he has such a flair for writing. He could probably have turned BDSL into a living.

  3. I think the message that "law school is a bad choice" is finally starting to sink in among many TLSers.
    Great post, sad article.

  4. I posted this earlier in RDTTL.


    At the very least all of you guys should file complaints to the ABA and/or the DOE.

    I am sure you are familiar with Law School Transparency. One of their founders (observationalist) wrote this the other day in TLS:

    "Of course, nothing is preventing people right now from filing an official complaint with the ABA Section of Legal Ed against a particular school. The problem is that nobody has bothered. There are basically two ways a law school can be investigated: either someone files a complaint which initiates a fact-finding and potentially full-out investigation, or a Site Evaluation Team reports an alleged violation of one or more standards during their site visits (which usually only happen once every five years). One can certainly argue that the ABA Section of Legal Ed hasn't been doing its job by delegating investigations to Site Evaluation Teams, but the fact remains that not a single complaint has been filed alleging violation of Standard 509, going back for at least five years. We fully encourage the filing of complaints where people believe their school has violated Standard 509, as it will help keep the regulators true to their mandate and can lead to an investigation, sanctions, and accreditation probation."

    How can it be possible that NO ONE has filed a complaint? I think scambloggers should start moving the ball. You guys have the power of your blogs/sites, and we would support you.