Saturday, December 7, 2013

November 2013

Employment fell a little in November but grew a little year-over-year. To everyone who graduated this year, happy holidays.

In an awesome bit of irony, Standard & Poor's noted

Credit quality appears to be bifurcating between small stand-alone law schools and component programs in nationally recognized universities and large state schools.
Looks like the legal education industry is about to follow the bimodal distribution trail blazed by the legal services industry and morph into winners and losers. To the losers: network. Even the winners are finding that their cash cow just died.

Not seasonally adjustedNovember20121,127,900
Seasonally adjustedNovember20121,126,100
Change from Oct-13 to

Monday, November 25, 2013

OcTTTober 2013

Headcount dropped around 1,000 in October and is on pace to finish a hair above the previous year, if that. One individual who will not be working as a lawyer is Christopher Knorps. At least not in NY. Thanks for calling this a-hole out, Nando. Either he or someone else with lots of time on his or her hands is the reason I now moderate comments.

Not seasonally adjustedOctober20121,125,900
Seasonally adjustedOctober20121,125,100
Change from Sep-13 to

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

September 2013

With a huge 6,600-position growth over the last twelve months, and almost 15K over the last three years, the legal industry is on fire!

Not seasonally adjustedSeptember20121,116,700
Seasonally adjustedSeptember20121,123,700
Change from Aug-13 to

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Another LS applicant in action

Things have been a little overwhelmingly busy at work for a couple of months. Plus, with the gummint on its back, there is no glowing September BLS report on the legal industry. Since I'd like to keep the blog going, here's a law school aspirant making the leap; I hear applications have really dropped!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

August 2013

Did you hear about the impending lawyer shortage? No? Read the link! We're all screwed! Has the National Jurist ever steered us wrong?

Annual growth in the entire legal industry was a little over 6,000 jobs. There have been 15,000 positions added over the last three years. That's not lawyers; it's the whole damn industry. Put that in your JD-Advantage™ pipe and smoke it. Preliminary August growth was 2,700 jobs, which should bring cheer to scammers from Newark to Santa Clara.

Not seasonally adjustedAugust20121,122,400
Seasonally adjustedAugust20121,122,400
Change from Jul-13 to

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I made the mistake of ambling over to the ABA Journal to peruse Law school financing system in need of ‘serious re-engineering,’ task force says. Like many media websites, it ranks articles by views, comments, and e-mail forwards. So, what is this presTTTigious "profession" focused on this summer weekend?

As we can see, the Cooley suit and the law school financing reform article didn't interest readers as much as treadmill desks. The ranking changes in real time and both articles fell off the page while I was typing this.

I confidently predict that a Stetson associate dean scraping gum off her shoe would garner more interest from ABA Journal readers than a judge agreeing law school is a total scam. Especially if she was blowing a prospect at the time.

P.S.: Ignore the $15/hr contract article, #8. That's just a figure some scambloggers fabricated before being caught and excoriated by sharp-eyed law academics. Lawyers really make tons of money, as well-documented by a pair of Seton Hall and Rutgers professors. Big pimpin'.

July 2013

July 2013 featured a 2,800-worker gain over June, subject to the usual wholesale revision up or down. Year-over-year was a little better than flat.

Three-year growth was around 16,000. It would have been a lot larger but for the massive earnings potential of a JD luring holders away from law and into even more lucrative endeavors, making recruiting difficult. I'll get to Simkovic's paper eventually. In the interim, I encourage the terminally credulous to enroll somewhere, anywhere this fall. Remember the ABA motto, "It's a mistake to retake."

Not seasonally adjustedJuly20121,135,100
Seasonally adjustedJuly20121,123,200
Change from Jun-13 to

Monday, July 15, 2013

Zimmerman wants to go to law school

Have tried to think of snarky things to write but there is no need. I just wonder if there is a school so venal that it will admit him, knowing he will never get by Character & Fitness. Anywhere.

He is also dumb as a brick; I particularly like this article on how his community college grades should have had a bearing on his prosecution.

(Reuters) - After his acquittal on murder charges for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman may go to law school to help people wrongly accused of crimes like himself, close friends told Reuters on Sunday.

The 29-year old was found not guilty late Saturday for shooting the unarmed black teenager in a case that sparked a national debate on race and gun laws. One of his first calls was to defense witness John Donnelly and his wife Leanne Benjamin.

They got to know Zimmerman in 2004 when he and a black friend opened up an insurance office in a Florida building where Benjamin worked. They grew close and the couple spent time with him during the trial.

Over dinner with Zimmerman recently, Benjamin said he told them he would like to go to law school.

"I'd like to help other people like me," she quoted him as telling them.

Zimmerman, an insurance investigator, attended community college and was a credit shy of an associate's degree in criminal justice but was kicked out of school because he posed a danger to the campus, according to family sources.

"Everybody said he was a cop-wannabe but he's interested in law," Benjamin said. "He sees it as a potential path forward to help other people like himself."

Zimmerman's defense attorney Mark O'Mara agreed.

"He wanted to be a cop for awhile, but he's talked about going to law school," O'Mara told Reuters on Sunday.

"He has a real interest in the law and ... prosecuting appropriately - not like what he got - is something he's very interested in. I will not be surprised if he ends up in criminal law," O'Mara said. "His dad was a judge, and he wants to be a prosecutor or a lawyer."

Experience shows that re-building life after a major trial may prove difficult, even for those acquitted of headline-making crimes.

Casey Anthony, the young Orlando mother acquitted in 2011 of killing her 3-year-old daughter Caylee, remains hidden and unemployed while her lawyers fight civil lawsuits seeking monetary damages from her.

Former NFL star O.J. Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of killing his wife and an acquaintance, but his life fell apart. He lost a $33 million wrongful death civil suit in 1997, moved to Florida where he was arrested and eventually sent to prison in 2008 for up to 33 years for robbery and kidnapping.


Even O'Mara and Zimmerman's brother, Robert, admitted his life would never be the same after the trial, which has forced him to go out in disguise and wear bullet proof vests because of threats to his life.

Donnelly told Reuters that Zimmerman was hurt very deeply by prosecutors' portrayals of him as a racist vigilante who targeted and pursued Martin simply because he was black.

"The person they are talking about is somebody completely different," Donnelly quoted Zimmerman as telling him recently. "Sometimes I have to go look at a mirror. They are talking about a totally different human being. They are talking about a racist. I'm not a racist."

He said Zimmerman was anything but.

"He's been mentoring young black kids for years, he launched a campaign to help a homeless black man who was beaten up by a white kid, and he still just can't believe all the things that have been said about him in the media."

Other friends of Zimmerman who spoke exclusively to Reuters remain angry at what he has endured since the shooting.

"I knew the man was innocent the whole time,'' said Jorge Rodriguez. "He called me yesterday to thank me ... for believing in him. He was just so relieved."

Rodriguez is deeply frustrated by civil rights activists like Al Sharpton, who he feels pressured prosecutors into charging Zimmerman with a crime he didn't commit.

"Everybody asked for justice, and they got it," Rodriguez said. "Everybody asked for George to be arrested, and they got it. Everybody asked for George to be tried, and they got it. Everybody asked for a fair trial, and they got it."

He dismissed criticism of the prosecution, the six female jurors and calls by civil rights groups for a federal civil rights investigation. The Martin family is also considering a wrongful death civil suit.

"Now can't we leave George Zimmerman alone?", Rodriguez said. "It was nothing about racism. It was about the community being robbed and broken into, and one man stood up. The state should be giving this man an award, and instead they took him to trial."

(Additional reporting by Barbara Liston in Sanford; Editing by Dina Kyriakidou, Bernard Orr)

Friday, July 5, 2013

June 2013 was a Weilly bad month

Don't get too upset about the 3,200-job loss from May to June. The gummint makes wholesale revisions in subsequent reports and the June loss could shrink to nothing. It could go the other way, of course.

What should upset you is that June 2010 employment was around 1,110,000. Law school enrollment is down but we are a long way from the point at which the market can absorb all new graduates; even approaching that point would draw the vast horde of un- and underemployed prior classes out of the woodwork. It will take a generation for the market to correct what the ABA has perpetrated.

Not seasonally adjustedJune20121,133,700
Seasonally adjustedJune20121,121,900
Change from May-13 to

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day from Bangalore

Happy Independence Day 2013, my fungible hired help readers. I figured what better way to commemorate the occasion than with an article on Bank of America sending a function previously done in the U.S. to Bangalore, India to save money?

Employees in BAC's LandSafe appraisal division were probably surprised to learn that their JD Advantage™ services were no longer needed and would henceforth be done by workers using checklists on the other side of the world.

The U.S.-based reviewers, who typically had at least five years of experience as appraisers [and can earn more than $100,000 a year], are required to confirm accuracy by doing independent assessments that conform to industry standards, the people said. The checklists in India cover 17 items such as whether the appraiser remembered to sign the report and include photographs of rooms, according to a copy obtained by Bloomberg.

I haven't done doc review — maybe someone who has can comment — but this sounds familiar. The Indians shouldn't get too comfortable, though. "What we're looking for is if there are patterns in certain areas where it looks like the reviews aren't necessarily needed anymore."

Translated from doublespeak, the too-big-to-fail bank will dispense with quality control altogether, if possible, and come running to Uncle Sam to bail it out again if it gets in over its head. You know, privatize the gain, socialize the loss? This is a workable solution if there are still employed workers to shoulder the loss. Matter of fact, one night a BAC executive will wake up and say to himself, "If companies ship their work to India then no one will be able to afford a mortgage and we'll have to stop lending and … ah, we'll just lend to foreigners ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz."

I suggest you sleep with one eye open, yourself.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The new normal hits Weil

Actual 0L

A little light reading from Bloomberg News.

"It's been going on at a number of firms all year, but Weil is a significant story because it's a New York firm and highly successful," Zeughauser said. "It's an indication of how pervasive the overcapacity in the industry is."

"It's not just that less is coming in," Zeughauser said, "It's a sign of the rising role of LPO's and contract attorneys that are filling a need that clients have been long demanding, which is they don’t want to pay these kind of prices for first to third year associates."

Weil, Gotshal & Manges is canning about seven percent of its staff, and encouraging deadwood to which it has contractual obligations, to leave. Assuming you're at a school where a V10 wouldn't unceremoniously discard your résumé, you might want to pay attention to what's going on. The rest of you are mostly screwed, but you already knew that. Enjoy your six-figure debt and JD-advantage job.

The reason Weil hit the news (and ATL) is the firm is being up front about layoffs and there are a lot of associates involved. That, and some large bankruptcies have wound down and their staffing cost can no longer be passed along, though it is also axing entire unrelated groups. Basically, this is a healthy firm that wants to keep its numbers up. Weil is a bellwether that demonstrates where the power lies along the legal employer-employee continuum.

The main thing TLS schmucks should take from Weil is that you are human cordwood.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

An exisTTTenTTTial threat

I let a lot of potential material slide by because it will be ably commented on elsewhere and I feel no need to add my $0.02; really, I'm lazy. Occasionally, I'll come across something so profoundly idiotic that I blog about it rather than gnash my teeth regretting I didn't.

Philadelphia Business Journal recently wrote up Rutgers-Camden's precipitous drop in admissions this cycle. Frankly, if the school closed I wouldn't give its demise more than one, terse paragraph, but this set me off:

"The applications stopped coming when the merger talk started. We were supposed to become the Rowan law school and no one wanted a Rowan degree."

Of course they didn't, you dipstick. Law is a presTTTigious "profession" comprised of haves and have-nots, the preponderance of your alumni being in the latter. Imagine the carnage if the name changed!

  • The facilities and library would remain the same
  • The faculty and administration would remain the same
  • The substantial tuition benefit of matriculating at a public university would remain the same
  • The curriculum would likely improve due to the new association with a medical school

Is a law a shithole or what? Change the signs on the buildings and the name on the diploma and you've consigned your graduates to a life of stifling work and penury. As opposed to the grandeur awaiting Rutgers-Camden alumni.

Here's what really pissed me off. New Jersey is not exactly replete with educational powerhouses, Princeton University excluded. For as long as I remember, it has led the nation in exporting college freshmen — I checked and it still held this title in 2006. The smart and better-off leave the state and the earnest bourgeois stay behind and matriculate at Ramapo, Rowan, and Rutgers. NYU rejects can choose from between two undistinguished public law schools. A Rutgers-Camden dean criticizing Rowan is the pot calling the kettle black.

Rowan University was known as Glassboro State College until industrialist Henry Rowan pledged $100 million, then the largest-ever gift to a public college, at which point it was renamed in his honor. Prior to that it was best known as site of the 1967 Glassboro Summit. Subsequently, it became a public research university and is one of only two institutions in the country that has both an allopathic and osteopathic medical school. I'm sure these future doctors will be proud to be Rowan alumni as they begin practicing. As for future un-and under-employed Rutgers-Camden Law grads, who knows?

Friday, June 7, 2013

May 2013

Subject to the usual revision, statistics show a small decrease in jobs in May. Year over year, the increase was 7,800; 14,200 over May 2011 and 16,200 over May 2010. The industry grew, or at least didn't shrink, at an average annual rate of about 0.5% over the last three years.

Basically, if you graduated law school in this era then statistically you're now doing something non-law-related while your student debt follows you around. Here's an example, who was once noted in Big Debt, Small Law after he showed up here. I encourage you lemmings (Hi!, Mr. Infinity) to get yourself quoted frequently in the media so I'll have lots of future Where Are They Now material to work with.

Not seasonally adjustedMay20121,118,000
Seasonally adjustedMay20121,121,500
Change from Apr-13 to

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bloomberg tells middling students to become plumbers

Mayor Bloomberg advises middling high school students to go into a trade instead of college. His rationale is that unless you're a top student, you will get a better return from plumbing and working than four years of college, plus you'll be debt-free.

I'm on the fence, here, but I think he's generally correct. The decision is muddled by your major's prospects and made murkier still assuming college isn't strictly an economic decision. Some people, including yours truly, went because they didn't know what else to do. We all have our reasons, including avoiding trades because they aren't presTTTigious.

The decision is a lot less murky if you're pursuing a liberal arts degree and are thinking of doubling down and taking your 3.2/155 to law school. Just accept that everyone but you realizes it's a terrible idea, find something productive to do, and move on with your life. Especially if you're from Bergen County and attend Siena College.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Stop me if you've heard this one …

Bloomberg News got a hold of Federal Advisory Council notes from earlier this year. The central bankers acknowledge the government is creating new bubbles in both farmland prices and student debt.

At a meeting in February 2012, the council said "growth in student-loan debt, to nearly $1 trillion, now exceeds credit-card outstandings and has parallels to the housing crisis."

Student lending shares features of the housing crisis including "significant growth of subsidized lending in pursuit of a social good," in this case higher education instead of expanded home ownership, the council said.

As my (lone?) Republican law school professor noted, any time you hear "social good," hold on to your wallet.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

JD Junkyard bites the dust

The forum is gone. Looks like the admin threw in the towel and is letting the domain registration expire today. At least we still have both TLS and JDU. Yay.

Friday, May 3, 2013

April 2013

There was a gain of 2,100 legal jobs in April 2013 and 10,000 year-over-year. Going back to April 2011, there were 1,114,000 jobs. So, things are picking up a bit, about 17,000 jobs over the last two years, but not enough assuage tens of thousands of newly-minted JDs. Matter of fact, things are so rosy that the Alabama State Bar is warning students away.

Not seasonally adjustedApril20121,116,000
Seasonally adjustedApril20121,120,700
Change from Mar-13 to

Friday, April 5, 2013

March 2013

There was a gain of 9,000 jobs year-over-year. I wouldn't get too excited over the monthly job gain, as it could disappear the next time BLS revisits it. The economy as a whole, sucks.

Anyhow, I watched the news this morning, before the labor report came out, and was angered by the pure fluff. Perfect example of a country full of lemmings with no interest in anything but the banal. RuTTTgers firing its basketball coach is the most important thing happening? We're one errant bullet away from a massive war in Korea. Syria and Iran aren't going away, either.

Not seasonally adjustedMarch20121,112,500
Seasonally adjustedMarch20121,117,900
Change from Feb-13 to

Friday, March 8, 2013

February 2013

TTTreading water, but not to worry, US News 2014 rankings come out Tuesday and this boring employment stuff will be forgotten as 0Ls work themselves into a lather.

BTW, this go-round BLS revised January 2013 downward by about 1,000.

Not seasonally adjustedFebruary20121,113,500
Seasonally adjustedFebruary20121,119,700
Change from Jan-13 to

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A TTT week

Two discouraging events this week. First, Inside the Law School Scam author Paul Campos called it a day with Goodbye is too good a word. I didn't get the Dylan reference, but lyrics and a recording were immediately forthcoming from others. What makes it sad is the reason he abruptly ended his blog: they got to him.

I've never written anything about the professional and personal price I ended up paying for starting to investigate, more than a year before I began this blog, the structure of contemporary American legal education. Perhaps I'll tell that story someday. For now I'll merely note that if people enjoying the extraordinary protections afforded by tenure aren't willing to confront institutional corruption, then academic tenure is an indefensible privilege.

I've had mixed feelings about Campos. I used to consider him an opportunist preaching from his sybaritic law professor gig, but his impact cannot be overstated. Now he'll never have a chance to cover the first modern law school failure, nor the first successful lawsuit against a school, nor, lord willing, the government turning off the loan spigot. At least not as the author of ITLSS.

Pointing out the elephant in the room is bad for business. Let's hope Campos doesn't delete the blog; a foreign entrepreneur will recycle it (see, e.g. ShillingMeSoftly).

In other news, Rutgers is preparing to close merge its two distinct law schools; Nando has a good write-up. Briefly, the stated dual intent is to become a more regionally-prominent school and to achieve the economy of scale and curriculum possible from combining resources.

Imagine if law schools were run like a business. Hell, they are a business, which is why Farmer describes Rutgers as a "brand." Its business plan is to consolidate two middling, horribly-sited law schools into one large school, change the signs, and call it done. This might be an efficient approach if there were opportunities for its graduates.

The legal market is obsessed with presTTTige. It's a fact of life and the most honorable intentions won't change it. Even as much of the academy gamed U.S. News in recent decades, Rutgers-Newark succored its moonbat faculty, opened an Animal Rights Law Clinic, and clung to Newark like its life depended on it. Meanwhile, Rutgers-Camden merited four (that I found) ITLSS posts in 2012 alone, culminating in this. Reorganizations are best left to Dilbert strips. It's a little late to be worrying about establishing a brand. Probably about thirty years late.

At the end of the day, the reason the Rutgers announcement is sad is because it portends business as usual in the legal academy, where reality doesn't intrude until the loan payments start. The market has changed dramatically but the institutions not a wit. Two schools pumping out unneeded graduates at taxpayer expense will become one school pumping out unneeded graduates at taxpayer expense. The school needs to shrink into one, selective campus in New Brunswick. If bigger were better, and a well-known brand a sustainable competitive advantage, then Cooley would truly be the second best school in the country.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Less is more

A JD Junkyard moderator recently posted a Craigslist ad with the title, JD's, LLM's or Masters Of Law Need Not Apply! Because many things eventually disappear, I've reposted the listing for posterity. The flashing text is my own emphasis, a nice touch the agency should incorporate in future ads. [EDIT: I mistakenly thought IE supported BLINK and couldn't test it] Think of it as the warning beacon from Alien.

The ad is still up as I type this.




**If you have a J.D., LLM or Masters of Law, please DO NOT respond to these ads.

Robert Hadley Associates NY'S #1 "Legal Recruiting Resource" is currently inundated with Job openings - The list below only represents a sample of the current market and positions that are available. The firm's are currently interviewing selected candidates and hopefully their choices and hires will be within your reaches. Please feel free to respond in confidence with your current and updated resume.

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The Billing Specialist chosen for this position must be exceptional and well versed in all aspects of ELITE Legal Billing. Duties will include: generate and distribute pre-bill drafts monthly and as requested, process final invoices, generate LEDES files for electronic billing, generate monthly WIP reports, etc. The ideal candidate must possess strong written and verbal communication skills and the ability to work in a highly professional, fast paced environment. Applicant identified must have current law firm billing experience as well 2-5 years experience with Elite Program. Please contact Robert Hadley Associates, N.Y.'s #1 Legal Staffing Agency, if you have the qualifications and experience

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Robert Hadley Associates, N.Y.'S #1 Legal Staffing Agency is currently interviewing for an experienced Corporate Paralegal for our international law firm client.
The Corporate Paralegal chosen for this position must have 2-5 years of corporate paralegal experience including UCC'S, Certificates of Incorporation, Registrations and general corporate governance/housekeeping. The ideal candidate will be a team player with excellent communication (both verbal and written), interpersonal and organizational skills. Candidate indentified will have experience with general corporate paralegal work either from a large law firms or In-House Counsel's office. Please contact Robert Hadley Associates, N.Y.'s #1 Legal Staffing Agency, if you have the qualifications and experience.

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Robert Hadley Associates, N.Y.'S #1 Legal Staffing Agency, is currently interviewing for an experienced Commercial Real Estate Paralegal for our client, a multi-faceted law firm conveniently located in midtown Manhattan.
The applicant chosen for this position must be exceptionally and well versed in Commercial Real Estate work. Range of work will include: document review, production research, file maintenance, assist in closings, etc. The ideal candidate will be a team player with excellent communication and organizational skills. Candidate identified must have 2-5 years of Commercial Real Estate experience. Please contact Robert Hadley Associates, N.Y.'s #1 Legal Staffing Agency, if you have the qualifications and experience.

You know how law school deans claim a JD is a versatile degree and you can do anything with it? THEY LIE! Sorry, TLS lemmings, the JDJ comments are accurate and no, none of us posted that ad ourselves (I've been accused of that in the past). I don't remember when agencies started doing this, only that I eventually learned I needed to keep my JD off my résumé to be employable.

Putting my presTTTigious legal training to use, I replied to the ad and inquired about the verbiage and was there anything else they could tell me? You know, like "[T]heir clients wouldn't be caught dead hiring a lawyer?" I never got a response, if you can believe that, though I did get an out-of-office reply from Donna M. Buro, whose name will be forever enmeshed with this post in Google search results. Hell hath no fury like a scamblogger scorned.

Less is truly more when it comes to legal education. You are forever precluded from decent, if unspectacular jobs that can pay as well as an attorney, particularly if the position is non-exempt. All this and little or no education requirement, bar exam, bar dues, CPE, mandatory pro bono, malpractice insurance, etc. If schools wanted to do their graduates a favor, they'd help create phony references to explain the three-year employment gap and be willing to verify them.

In passing, I'd like to mention that the JDJ post trods familiar ground. Scott Bullock commented on similar listings back in 2010 (and likely earlier).

JD v. GED: The "Joke Degree" vs. the "Good Enuff" Diploma!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010, 10:20:28 PM | lawis4losers

You've really gotta love the craigslist ad posted here:

This law firm is advertising a position for a data-entry monkey to load/scan documents into Concordance (a doc review software platform) that the temp attorneys (aka doc reviewers/"coders") will later review for litigation & e-discovery.

What's especially hilarious is that the posted job doesn't even require a college degree (much less a JD), yet pays the same hourly rate that LICENSED ATTORNEYS commonly receive to actually perform a substantive review of this corporate, make-work garbage. Furthermore, the ad alludes to a RAISE in salary after a small trial period. Imagine a document review attorney ever getting a raise mid-project! The only "raise" a doc review JD ever gets is when they lift their right arm to ask permission to use the restroom!

For the lawschool defenders, a question: Show me the ship's captain who receives the same rate as the steerage coal stokers. Show me the MD who receives the same pay as the bedpan dumper. Show me the auto mechanic who makes the same salary as the gas pump jockey. Show me the executive chef who makes the same sheckle as the dishwasher.

Think I'm kidding? Read this ad:

Yes, you nitpicking pricks, the JD position above pays a WHOPPING $4 an hour more than the data-entry job. Now go ahead and subtract student loans, bar dues, CLE fees, madatory pro-bono assignments (compulsory for all NJ attorneys), and 7 years of lost earnings while you were being "educated" from the equation.

Enough said.

Only in law kids, only in law.


Monday, February 18, 2013

RuTTTgers-Newark dean trolls scambloggers

The New York Times must feel badly about continually bashing law schools, for it allowed a local sewer to infest its op-ed page, yesterday. Rutgers-Newark Dean John Farmer published To Practice Law, Apprentice First. Though chock full of ivory tower disconnect, at least he didn't try to sell law school as a sound investment like most of his peers.

Let me get this out of the way: As a New Jersey taxpayer, I believe both Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-Camden should close and the public resources currently expended be diverted to more productive use. I would have had a less visceral reaction if this op-ed issued from Hofstra, but I'm sure less geographically-challenged writers will remain more objective. Actually, I look forward to Campos ripping Farmer a new asshole from Colorado. This link has everything you need to know about lawyer supply and demand in the NJ legal market. Class dismissed.

Farmer has had a charmed life, unlike most Rutgers-Newark alumni. His bio is here. To his credit, he has considerable experience in private practice, so he is not just talking from you-know-where. I also know him as one of the "go-to" guys when the fit hits the shan. On the other hand, he is dean of a perpetual also-ran in the nation's biggest legal market and should tend to his own house rather than venture out to pontificate. After all, rankings come out next month.

The op-ed isn't that long; please read it. Farmer ties the legal market's woes to big firms overpaying for newbie lawyers. Briefly, because Cravath pays $160K, Dorita can't afford to fight her eviction. Further, because Cravath's clients aren't willing to pay to train new lawyers, Cravath hires fewer of them (and the remainder compete with Rutgers-Newark grads).

Farmer's prescription is the lawyer's version of a medical residency. I could write an essay on the difference between law and medicine, starting with one being an actual, well-respected profession and the other being a presTTTigious "profession" and textbook case of regulatory capture. Side note: medical students now face the "jaws of death." Oh, and the public pays to train new doctors, presumably because the investment is worth it. Can you say the same about lawyers? And keep a straight face?

I'm getting lazy, so let me respond to Farmer with some bullet points.

  • The reason the middle-class can't afford lawyers is because it has no money. Fix that and some other intractable problems will fix themselves. Education debt, anyone? How about reducing housing prices in the NYC area? A more progressive tax structure coupled with federal, state, and local government pruning?
  • Good lawyers are expensive because they are worth it; you get what you pay for. This is the case with everything in life. Farmer implicitly recognizes that low-end legal work can and should be done cheaply, meaning the value isn't there. Big firms realized this years ago, at which point they began hiring staff attorneys; shipping work to India and flyover country; and, employing automation. The problem remains that the academy wants seven years of higher education, a bar exam, bar dues, and CLEs for the chance to do scut work. Farmer's answer to this is to add two years low-paid residency under questionable supervision.
  • One way to reduce the cost of legal education, but not legal services, is to make law an undergraduate degree, either four or five years. THEN, you require one or two years working for an admitted lawyer. This is how accountants regulate themselves and we don't hear about a glut of CPAs, though a lot of this is self-selection. Again, it won't reduce prices because the cost of training does not affect the perceived value of the service rendered. This is why my accountant charges a high hourly rate for estate accounting and estate tax preparation and the lawyer who does my estate planning works for a flat fee somewhat higher than LegalZoom's.
  • Did I forget to mention the middle-class has no money?

Anyhow, nice try, Dean Farmer. You clearly understand both structural changes facing the legal industry and macroeconomics. If I may quote Upton Sinclair, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Law applicants are VERY special snowflakes

From the National Law Journal article headed Future law school applicants are wealthier, more self-confident:

The aspiring lawyers rated themselves more highly than the typical college student regarding academic ability, public speaking, drive to achieve and tendency to socialize with students outside their own race. Of the eventual law school applicants, 87 percent reported that they had "above average" academic abilities, compared to 69 percent of all college freshman.

One of the sad things about incompetent people, besides having them as coworkers, is they don't realize they're incompetent. After the spate of bad news last week, law school administrators can relax knowing there IS a sucker born every minute, a sucker receptive to sophisticated marketing programs and who can shut out everything contrary; they're unreachable.

Granted, *successful* law applicants have better credentials than an average college graduate, but we are not dealing with future investment bankers, here. Or engineers. Or medical doctors.

These individuals are the same aimless idiots who majored in liberal arts and groupthink, took gut courses, and intend to "do" International Law. They rack up posts on TLS and patronize Scott Bullock. Armed with their 155 LSAT, they and their like-minded cohort head to some TTR sh*thole and are never heard from again unless they screw up. Some even succeed for a while, but when reality kicks them in the head, as it almost always does, the grasshopper has pissed away everything he made in biglaw and is too proud to pick himself up off the floor (see the lawyer).

Granted, if you're either connected or won the genetic lottery then you can hold your head up high. Otherwise, know that fools rush in where wise men fear to tread.

Monday, February 4, 2013

January 2013

I'm debating whether to continue posting BLS monthly reports, at least in the current format. See the 1,128,000 for December 2012? Now, look at December 2012, which had 1,123,400, a restatement of 4,600. Pinning down the change for the current month is an exercise in wishful thinking. Maybe round to the nearest 10,000?

Interestingly, the restated December 2012 figure is an increase of 12,400 over December 2011. Pretty damn impressive — huge raises for everyone!

Not seasonally adjustedJanuary20121,112,100
Seasonally adjustedJanuary20121,119,100
Change from Dec-12 to

Thursday, January 31, 2013

And it's only TTThursday!

Steeeerike One

"Avoiding law school in droves" - National Law Journal - January 28, 2013

Steeeerike Two

"Law Schools’ Applications Fall as Costs Rise and Jobs Are Cut" - NY Times - January 30, 2013

Steeeerike Three

Yer out!

This has been a glorious week for everyone whose business model doesn't depend on scamming law students. Two scambloggers not-easily-dismissed publications pointed out that law school applications have cratered, falling at an increasing rate, with around 54,000 lemmings applying this cycle. It took years, but the general public has finally caught on. To put things in perspective, there are around 45,000 seats at ABA schools, meaning that if you can fog a mirror then you will be accepted at one or more fully-acredited insTTTiTTTuTTTions. I am not kidding in the least.

The ABA must be so proud of itself. Anointed by the Department of Education, it has allowed this "profession" to approach a 1:1 ratio of applicants to seats. Sort of like cosmetology school except cosmetology school is a lot cheaper and state regulators more vigilant. The biggest percentage drop comes from the highest LSAT scores as the best and brightest flee and free up seats for mouthbreathers.

Some of the talking heads interviewed expect some law schools to close and most of the rest to shrink. My opinion is the academy can't bail water fast enough to save itself. It will take exactly one marginal school failing to make applicants and current students realize they need to take financial viability into account in deciding where, or even if, to matriculate. That will lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy where schools perceived as weak in fact become weak and wither and die. The push to lower cost of attendance, likely by eliminating the third year of school, will only magnify the damage. Besides students, some other interested parties will be auditors and creditors. It's hard to borrow money if you're not considered a going concern. Oh, and just like karma, those cross-default clauses are a bitch.

Knowledge is power.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Read this inspiraTTTional sTTTory


"A man who wore a three-dimensional Bucky Badger hat when he allegedly robbed an East Side credit union last week told police that he wants to go to prison and needed the money because he has $250,000 in student debt.

An online UW-Madison directory lists Hubatch as a lead custodian at Union South on the UW-Madison campus. University spokesman John Lucas said Hubatch is not a current student but earned a bachelor's in English in 1998 and a law degree in 2004."

Some of you whiners claim your JD weighs you down like a millstone. What you need to do is follow the lead of this "slightly autistic" University of Wisconsin JD and take the bull by the horns mop by the handle. Does this guy sit on his couch all day playing Call of Duty? No! He cleans the damn couch and probably Scotchguards that sucker, too. Thanks to his JD and hard work, he's not just a janitor, he's the LEAD f*cking janitor.

PresTTTige: he haz it.

Now, how to handle his $250K student debt? Some people would IBR it and live happily ever after on a custodian's wages; however, a 49-year-old guy with untreated medical issues will never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Instead, he now gets three hots and a cot, and free medical care, too. Plus, what are his creditors going to do, levy on his prison commissary account?

This is exactly the kind of real-world problem solving you learn in law school. The ABA and UW must both be so proud. As for Hubatch, he may become the best jailhouse lawyer there ever was.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 posTTT morTTTem

The gummint says the legal industry added 7,800 jobs in 2012. In brighter news, the number of applicants continued to plummet. I dream that one day only the most special of snowflakes will think taking on six-figure debt to go to law school is a good idea.

A message from the ABA:

Not seasonally adjustedDecember20111,118,800
Seasonally adjustedDecember20111,115,600
Change from Nov-12 to