Sunday, December 14, 2014

November 2014

Notwithstanding some patently ridiculous articles of late, particularly this, now is as piss poor a time to go to law school as ever. If we stroll back to November 2010, when there were 1,116,100 souls employed in the legal industry, we can see how far we've come: about 18,000 jobs over four years. Of late, things seem to be contracting, with 2,000 jobs shed over the last year.

If your favorite school offers to sell you a turd at one-third off, do everyone — lawyers, taxpayers, and particularly, yourself — a favor and decline.

Not seasonally adjustedNovember20131,137,700
Seasonally adjustedNovember20131,135,600
Change from Oct-14 to

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The lamentation of the associaTTTes

Vault just posited, "Will Law Firms Increase Salaries in 2015?" Quoting heavily from both NALP and Vault's own survey, it describes a dystopia the likes of which even Scott Bullock couldn't fathom.

Briefly, BigLaw starting salaries have not budged in almost a decade and are actually dropping outside large cities.

Tell me the following isn't bleaker than a box of starving kittens in downtown Mogadishu:

"There are no financial incentives to work harder here. Partners make ridiculous profits and associates do not share in any of the bounty."

"Hard to say that I'm being cheated at $300K/year, but no doubt this will be another record-breaking year for the profits per partner, and we haven't seen associate salaries or bonuses increase since 2007."

"Our bonuses are s**t compared to what they were. Our salary is low compared to what it was in 2007. Firms need to update."

"It is time for a raise. Law school tuition has skyrocketed since the move to 160,000 and I'm pushing 300,000K [sic] in debt paying for both undergrad and law school. The days of the big bonuses helping you pay off your student loans are over, and billing over 200 hours per month has me feeling like even the coveted 160k is not commensurate with my work or sufficient to justify the cost of a legal education."

Bah! In my day we went into law strictly for presTTTige. Granted, we were always balls-deep in models & bottles, but there was none of this whining about deserving a bigger piece of the pie. We got what we got, and we liked it.

This complicated chart describes what is happening. You coders in the basement can ignore it; you'll always get at least minimum wage. The rest of you should be happy inflation is low.

"This is an outrage!" you say. Well, pull close, Grasshopper, and I'll explain why firms are cutting real compensation.

Because they can.

Friday, November 7, 2014

OcTTTober 2014

Hey, boys and girls, did you know that if you can fog a mirror then you're a shoo-in at one of many fine insTTTiTTTuTTTions that can get you started in this thriving industry?

Not seasonally adjustedOctober20131,138,000
Seasonally adjustedOctober20131,137,100
Change from Sep-14 to

Friday, October 3, 2014

SepTTTember 2014

The legal industry just had a nasty month and, at best, a flat year (BLS routinely revises its initial figures). My guess is law school faculty and staff layoffs are beginning to reflect in these figures; I encourage castoffs to network.

Not seasonally adjustedSeptember20131,130,300
Seasonally adjustedSeptember20131,136,800
Change from Aug-14 to

Saturday, September 27, 2014

No, wait, they're serious

I've been a member many years. Back in the day they had a couple of lively, if not particularly useful law forums. At this stage in my career I peruse it for entertainment value.

Vault's bloggers and editors produce clickbait seminal works such as A Day in the Life of a Wachtell Partner whose publication is announced via regular e-mails. Statistically, how useful do you think this is to a typical law student?

Anyhow, this week's e-mail featured Can You Do Anything with a Law Degree? DC Lawyers Say Yes.

Idi Amin reacting to

To give credit where it's due, that piece originated from the Washington Post, which vacillates between Watergate break-ins and vapid articles about yuppies. The problem is Vault should know better, though they included a gratuitous disclaimer at the end of the article.

Here's a more fulsome disclaimer:

  • You ain't getting a biglaw job in D.C., probably the most competitive market in the country. If you are then you don't need advice from either Vault or me. The Vault author apparently did obtain one of these jobs and is either oblivious or realizes that writing about shitlaw doesn't pay the bills. Hence, tripe like this
  • There's that J.D. Disadvantage that will haunt you like a ghost. I'm speaking from experience
  • Heartwarming career-change stories are evergreens in NYC and elsewhere. The common theme is you need money (and health insurance) to make money. Don't have enough capital to offset potentially years of negative cash flow? Sucks to be you
  • Legal training may or may not be of any use to you in future endeavors; it's an expensive sunk cost. One woman in the Post article freely admitted she needed a lawyer to negotiate a lease. People who are smart enough to get jobs like that in the first place are smart enough to realize when they're in over their head
  • Bonus tip: I guarantee none of these lawyers-turned-bakers went to cooking school, another huge scam. Avoid

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Peter Cammarano epilogue

Noted Seton Hall Law graduate Peter Cammarano was disbarred by the New Jersey Supreme Court today. He's notable mainly because other than former Valvoline Dean Patrick Hobbs, no person associated with the school ever raised Scott Bullock's ire more. He'd be just another ex-con — we have many — if not for his repeated appearance in Scott's posts and comments.

From Tom the Temp:

Hey Tom, the mayor of Hoboken, Peter "Scam-arrano," who was arrested today and charged with 5 counts of accepting bribes is a 2002 Seton Hall grad.

Hilarious! He learned fraud and corruption at the knee of master scammer Pat Hobbs, known as Seton Hall's infamous "Valvoline Dean" for his oleaginous, used car salesman persona and shameless molestation of salary/employment data. Scammarao (the Hoboken mayor) even had a Traffic Court Clerkship under his belt!

Scott frequently reproduced or alluded to one of my all-time favorite quotes, such as here.

Cammarano once even removed his wristwatch and told a crowd of summer associates: "You see this watch? This watch cost more than a year's tuition at at Seton Hall. That's who I am, and you're nothing."

See for more.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Miss America headed for law school

Kira Kazantsev, the winner of Miss America 2015 Pageant, plans to use $50,000 prize money to pay for her law school at the the University of Notre Dame.

Kazantsev plans to attend law school and pursue career in women's issues and international diplomacy. She recently revealed her ordeal as a victim of domestic violence in college. Her former boyfriend used to stalk and send hateful text messages to her.

She's not just hot, she also plays a mean plastic cup.

According to the NY Daily News, "She triple-majored in Political Science, Global Studies and Geography as an undergrad at Hofstra University in Long Island."

Truly an inspiration to airheads everywhere.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

To Indiana Tech

I'd like to thank the folks at Outside the Law School Scam for bringing to everyone's attention the latest enhancement to the curriculum at "Fort Wayne's finest unaccredited law school," which a commenter described as "word salad." Hey, if the shoe fits …

Back when she blogged, Kimber Russell described law school as an aspirational endeavor similar to acting school. The difference, particularly as it applies to Indiana Tech, is that acting school students already know they're not going to make it big. The other difference is that acting students can probably define aspirational.


By Lewis Carroll

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—

So rested he by the Tumtum tree
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,

Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

August 2014

Treading water. August had a decent gain but year-over-year remains meh, as does employment as a whole. NY Times had an article on sluggish job growth and the three million people who've dropped out of the labor force.

Health care has been a bright spot. Ever wonder why there's no Nursing School Lemmings blog?

Not seasonally adjustedAugust20131,136,500
Seasonally adjustedAugust20131,136,100
Change from Jul-14 to

Thursday, August 28, 2014

July 2014

I'm just going through the motions at this point. July 2014 was flat. Year-over-year was modest, nowhere near enough to absorb recent graduates. We'll see what happens in the fall, though I'll go out on a limb and predict things will suck for most newly-minted lawyers.

I'd hoped toilet law schools would start to fail and fall like dominos as students fled, but I'm increasingly convinced there is a baseline supply of individuals like this to fill seats. All the schools need to do is get their expenses in line with the new-normal revenue stream — they're lopping faculty and staff as I type this — and they can scam provide quality, ABA-endorsed legal educations forever.

Not seasonally adjustedJuly20131,143,300
Seasonally adjustedJuly20131,132,000
Change from Jun-14 to

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thank you, Nando

As both a fan of TTR almost from inception and someone who also faces health challenges — it's amazing how much your life can change in an instant — I'd like to wish you happy trails. Thank you for your monumental contribution to scamblogging, your perseverance, and your willingness to slough off the endless abuse from defenders of the legal academy and "profession."

Saturday, July 26, 2014

June 2014

A gain of 5,000+ year-over-year isn't too shabby, just nowhere near enough to absorb recent graduates. Meanwhile, law school applications are headed the opposite direction. That piece quotes heavily from a subscription-required National Law Journal article so it's context-free, but the delusion is palpable. One professor states, "Law school just isn't the path into the middle class that it once was." Translating, the professor means that once-upon-a-time — the ship had sailed by the mid-80s — most of a graduating class could expect a good outcome. Today, only a small handful of "winners" can.

To illustrate the concept, a mouse-click over the ABA Journal has an article on a 101-year-old lawyer. They also interviewed his 72-year-old lawyer son.

Meanwhile, in Texas, an unaccredited new law school is raking them in with $14K-year tuition. While I'd like to wish the students luck and success, it appears many of them are URMs and non-trads whose career will be over as soon as it starts.

Not seasonally adjustedJune20131,140,600
Seasonally adjustedJune20131,131,000
Change from May-14 to

Friday, June 6, 2014

May 2014

A JD Junkyard poster dredged up old blogs, one circa 2004. Law sucks. Law has always sucked. Law will always suck, courtesy of the ABA and the legal academy.

Not seasonally adjustedMay20131,131,300
Seasonally adjustedMay20131,133,800
Change from Apr-14 to

Friday, May 2, 2014

April 2014

I'm too lazy to do more than state the obvious: growth is negligible. Head over to Third Tier Reality to read about the ensuing carnage.

Not seasonally adjustedApril20131,132,000
Seasonally adjustedApril20131,135,700
Change from Mar-14 to

Friday, April 4, 2014

March 2014

"One thousand jobs"
[Thunder crash!]
"Two thousand jobs"
[Mail slot slowly opens]
"Three thousand jobs"
[Loan statement drops on floor]
"Four thousand jobs"
[Another thunder crash]
"Ah! Ah! Ah!"

Not seasonally adjustedMarch20131,129,000
Seasonally adjustedMarch20131,133,400
Change from Feb-14 to

Sunday, March 16, 2014

February 2014

February was unremarkable. The main thing of note, lately, is US Snooze released its 2015 ranking. Well, it's of note to the type who can work himself into a rabid lather over where Brooklyn landed. There are enough of these to keep Bob Morse gainfully employed forever. Unlike, say, lawyers.

The Wall Street Journal did a good summary, IMNSHO. Main takeaway is nothing succeeds like success.

The durability of the top 10: Four decades ago — years before U.S. News started publishing its law school rankings — sociologist Peter M. Blau published the results of a survey of law school deans on which schools they thought were the best. As Duke law professor Richard Schmalbeck noted in a paper, the legal education hierarchy has changed very little. The 1974 survey’s top nine schools all show up in the top 10 of the latest U.S. News rankings.


I continue to encourage the terminally credulous to go to law school so they can get what they have coming.

Not seasonally adjustedFebruary20131,123,100
Seasonally adjustedFebruary20131,129,900
Change from Jan-14 to

Sunday, March 2, 2014

January 2014

You can tell I take this blog seriously when I forget that I hadn't posted January. Fixed.

During its relatively brief existence, the world has passed it by. As Nando reports, anti-law school sentiment is now mainstream. Want to know what otherworldly, self-serving tripe your favorite law school dean is dishing out? Read CNN. Nice photo of the JMLS building in the article, BTW. I can only imagine how many lemmings have stood on the Chicago 'L' platform by the school, seen the sign, and thrown their life away.

Back to the matter at hand. Year-over-year industry growth was about 7,000 positions. In another impressive statistic, JMLS accepted 64% of applicants for the class of 2017. It's hard to consider law a profession when the criterion for a legal education is being able to fog a mirror.

Not seasonally adjustedJanuary20131,122,800
Seasonally adjustedJanuary20131,130,200
Change from Dec-13 to

Saturday, January 11, 2014

TTThat was the year TTThat was (2013 edition)

The legal industry grew shrank 1,000 positions in 2013, accompanied by the sound of one hand clapping. Three-year growth was about 13,000.

It's been a tough slog, but even the densest individuals acknowledge reality and now aim for JD-Advantage™ slots instead of attorney positions. Let me explain something: I deal with legal experts all day long, both at work and elsewhere, and only one has a JD, the company lawyer. Our HR person is well acquainted with employment law and overtime and knows enough Obamacare to keep the company out of trouble. My condo management agent is also a licensed real estate agent and is familiar with liens, insurance, mortgages, foreclosure, and, of course, association law. Our bookkeepers know state and local eviction procedures and requirements and sometimes testify in court. Our techs have EPA cards. Basically, everyone picks up applicable law on the job through both formal and informal training. Some study to become licensed or certified in their discipline. If they don't know something, they know how to reach out, and that wouldn't necessarily be to a lawyer.

I don't believe a JD would benefit any of them, especially after taking financial and opportunity cost into account. It's a needless distraction from a career. In short, there is no JD Advantage, and that's with a GOOD outcome. A bad outcome, which is what I had, involves leaving the presTTTigious JD off your résumé and plugging the gap. There may be less stigma to a JD these day than when I graduated, but the palpable foolishness of making a lifelong sacrifice for a gilded, unnecessary degree speaks volumes about the deteriorating applicant pool seeking it.

Not seasonally adjustedDecember20121,131,900
Seasonally adjustedDecember20121,128,000
Change from Nov-13 to