This blog is about living the American Dream at the dawn of the new millennium! I am a nameless, mid-20s, bottom 150 Law School Graduate who finds himself marginally attached and awash in a sea of overeducated but underpaid, indentured peers who feel, and were, duped by the promise of a better life through debt and modern chemistry. Let's get to the point. The Law School Industrial Complex is a scam that has destroyed a generation out of greed. Vendettas were once legal and the pursuit of one was seen not only as moral, but necessary. This newly minted lawyer is going to continue the practice. DON'T GO TO LAW SCHOOL YOU MORONS! Ce qui suit est ce qui reste!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Generation Dependant: Royal Edition!!!!

"71 percent of recent college graduates wish they had done something differently in college in preparing for the job market." ~ Survey findings



So in-between watching the 2,000 different live web feeds of the Royal Wedding between Kate & William, possibly the most esteemed welfare recipient in the Millennial Generation, I came across this article about how the rest of us are doing.



*Above makes me laugh every time.

Walking on clouds we are not.  Here's the full link to where I found it.

With the help of Braun Research, Adecco interviewed 503 college graduates between the ages of 22 and 26 in early April about their current employment situation.

Some notable findings include:

• 43% of respondents currently employed hold jobs in areas which don't require a bachelor's degree
• 57% of respondents work full time, and only 40% are employed in a field they studied
• 33% of respondents live at home
• 55% of respondents overall, and 32% of unemployed respondents, said they have only applied to 0-5 full-time positions since graduating
• 23% of respondents are in debt



Now this survey looked just at college students.  I would personally love to see how the same survey applies to 1) law grads in this same age bracket 2) other graduate students.  My guess would be that it gets worse the higher up in the scam you go.

Also interesting to me is the fact that while only 23% of the respondents were in debt - there are 33% living at home.  I find it curiouser and curiouser how our generation has changed so much.

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The Millennials might as well be called the Perpetual Adolescents, which many studies are now showing. HERE and HERE and HERE is a clip from a study back in the 1960s stating

"Prolonged schooling is the handmaiden of prolonged adolescence."

Of course, when education becomes a fantasy and you create an entire financial system that primarily rewards the older generation the question of culpability comes up.  What some would call bettering a society through education, I would characterize our current system thusly:


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Enough angst anger rage and foreboding! In the words of Rebecca Black, the surest sign we're doomed -- It's Friday Friday!!! GOTTA GET DOWN ON FRIDAY!!! Everybody's lookin forward to the weekend weekend!

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Till next time!!! AMU - Always Marry Up!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's Worse? Admitting Defeat or Accepting Victory?

"As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods, They kill us for their sport." ~ Duke of Gloucester, in Shakespeare's King Lear, who was blinded for his deeds


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Well as is being reported by many of my fellow scambloggers, go see Jobless JD , a professor writing in The New Republic admits that the scambloggers have been speaking truth to power all along.  Of course, our contribution to the debate hasn't been explicitly mentioned in the legal world except for one weird law review article that missed the point and wrote about blogging the way a supreme court justice would write about pornography.

I've been blogging for almost exactly a year now whereas many of my compatriots have been doing it for slightly longer.  That's how long it took for the system to admit to the world what it is, which I think is actually pretty damn quick.


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 As the New Republic points out:


When we take temporary employment into account, it appears that approximately 45 percent of 2010 graduates of this particular top-50 law school had real legal jobs nine months after graduation. And the overall number is likely lower, since it seems probable that the temporary employment figures for the graduates of almost any top 50 school would be better than the average outcome for the graduates of the 198 ABA-accredited law schools as a whole."

There are several more unaccredited schools to add to this heap that put out thousands more students every year.  Add to this the LLM students who may or may not be from this country, but may have to do an LLM to qualify for a state bar exam.  Also surprisingly, this came from a professor:

All of this suggests the extent to which prospective law students need more and better information. Of course, such information will make law school look like a far worse investment than it does at present. Still, if we assume that the point of academic work is to reveal the truth, rather than to engage in the defense of a professional cartel from which law professors benefit more than almost anyone else, then this work needs to be done.


No shit sherlock.  The scambloggers beat you to it a long time ago.

In my case, I knew it was a lost cause to go the mythical route described by the law school industrial complex.  Quite honestly, looking back, I really should have known to some extent.  I knew it wouldn't be easy but I didn't know it would be impossible.


I'd tell you what I do for a day job but that'd almost certainly reveal my secret non-superhero identity.  Almost every classmate I know is either working for the government (non-legal), a small to mid size law firm (personal/family connections), going solo, or has left the law field entirely to something completely or only tangentially related.  

The severity of that decision depends on how deep into the hole you went in.  For many of my classmates, they will never get out and they didn't realize that until they got their cap and gown (which I'm sure many have sold by now for the spare cash).


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Till Next Time!!! Drop out Lemmings while there's still time!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rankings: It Never Ends

"Nothing worth knowing can be taught." ~ Oscar Wilde, convicted of and sentenced to two years of hard labor for having "sodomy" aka sex with a man, still illegal in many states

God damn it, when will it be enough for you rapists of potential futures, nondischargeable debt bandits higher educational industrial complex?  So now they're ranking community colleges.



Here's my favorite difference in criteria between ranking law graduate schools and community colleges.

For community colleges, there are the following to determine the ranking/value/prestige of a community college:

To pick the winners, judges analyzed Department of Education data on the percentage of students who graduate with an associate's degree or successfully transfer from their community colleges into four-year institutions. They also assessed the proportion of low-income and minority students who completed each program, and if completion rates improved over time at the particular schools. The 120 winners, representing the top 10 percent of the country's 1,200 community colleges, can now enter to win a $700,000 prize.

Can you imagine if the US News and World Report ranked law schools based upon actual, objective criteria rather than the totally subjective bullshit they try to justify with a whole section on "methodology."  BTW, their "methodology" for ranking is essentially a gussied up poll and the rest is culling together self-reported data (both of which are highly unreliable and remarkably plastic).  Even with the "new and improved" format for this year -- something they did only after the scamblog movement began -- it's still total bullshit.

What would law school rankings look like if they did it solely on the following?

1) Percentage of those who earned their JD?
2) Number who pass a bar exam (or those who can transfer to a 4 year institution)?
3) Proportion of low income and minority students who completed their JD? 

FYI they do do the 3rd, the "most diverse" category but if you notice the most diverse schools also usually inhabit the very bottom of the tiers.

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God forbid either genre tried to show correlation/causation between attendance of the formalized educational program versus employment prospects/salary outcomes. Well I guess they do but they flat out lie about it to lure more unsuspecting lemmings have shortcomings in self-reporting.  As the article points out,

One major problem is that the bulk of community college students take remedial courses because they did not learn basic math and reading comprehension in high school. Remedial courses do not transfer to four-year universities, and they also slow students' progress toward an associate's degree, even though they are often necessary. Another problem is that not all community colleges are clear about which courses transfer to four-year institutions, so students often waste time on classes that don't get them closer to a bachelor's degree.


I have terrible news for the Obama Administration and the Dept of Ed --- Even the majority of people who attend 4 year colleges and earn a degree lack basic math skills and reading comprehension.



Let me repeat that.


It has been proven that a significant percentage of kids who buy into the American Dream of higher education --- learn absolutely nothing by attending college


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Till Next Time!!! Hey Cletus!!! Get you some learnin' while the learnin's good!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Two Ways To Say This: I Prefer Fuck You

There are two different ways I could express the same concept.  One is verbal and quasi-poetic.  The other is a political cartoon with an obscene caption.  I prefer the latter.


“Although a system may cease to exist in the legal sense or as a structure of power, its values (or anti-values), its philosophy, its teachings remain in us. They rule our thinking, our conduct, our attitude to others. The situation is a demonic paradox: we have toppled the system but we still carry its genes.” ~ Ryzard Kapuscinski


OR





In other words, Fuck you!

Till next time!!! All hail the high priest of generational sacrifice!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Millenial Generation Jobs: Updated!

The following was a clever post from a place you may have heard referred to as reddit. Thought I'd share although I can't figure out why the law grad wouldn't be a barista...oh wait that's right no one wants to hire a JD to do anything other than drone through stacks of paper for pennies---also called doc review---in this economy also called the Lucky Ones.



Well there seems to be some disagreement over how accurate the "reality" of the law school section is and so I present the following:



OR




And my favorite in inappropriate humor


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Till Next Time!!! Watch out for horny lake sharks!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Higher Education = A Designer Purse

"Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability...No class of society, not even the most abjectly poor, forgoes all customary conspicuous consumption" ~ Thor Veblen - weirdo and early sociologist who had terrible personal hygiene...look it up moron




You know I've generally avoided the larger picture of the state of our economy, other than to note that it's really shitty and represents a fundamental shift in the way our society distributes wealth for the foreseeable future recovering.  For those of you under a rock, for the first time since its creation Standard and Poor's downgraded the country formerly known as the Pax Americana.  In my opinion, it's one of the clearer signs that the civilized rest of the world is starting to note that our country has gone batshit crazy in the past 10 years and it's really starting to affect our economy as much as our culture.  The super rich that have benefited from a skewed political system over the past thirty years will likely be unaffected as their wealth transcends national borders.  It's the common folk who are going to be hurting and hurting for a long time.

The one thing that everyone is good at in the mainstream press, and I would say Americans at large, is pointing out problems rather than providing solutions.  Whether it's the fact that almost half of the two-party system continues to believe their president is a negro foreigner & the other political party actually loses a fight to tax the wealthiest 1% of the population at the same proportion as everyone else thereby solving the deficit crisis is unbelievable...they nearly shut down the government as a whole from carping and now they're threatening not to raise the debt ceiling (if you honestly think shutting down a government is a good idea--I guess I don't really disagree with you except America isn't Belgium, we've got a lot more ignorance and firearms).



Even though every problem contains a solution, at least in mathematics, within social institutions that kind of self-reform never happens is almost unheard of in the span of human history.  *See any religious organization, political party, recreational club devoted to bowling etc.  It's always some radical element that infuses the prevailing order with its own philosophy, kind of like a virus, or overthrows it and mandates the "reform" they wanted.  I have yet to really see any kind of viral shift in higher education, especially law school, because it's far too profitable--and it's not a system you can just overthrow.  It kind of reminds me of slavery, yes the slaves could rebel, but in terms of eliminating the system entirely there is no way that slaves were ever in the position to do so (except in Haiti--so I guess in terms of population break down any law schools in Rhode Island should be wary).



The only reason why formalized slavery ended on a global scale was because of a combination of forces both internal and external to the system--namely abolitionists.  When abolitionists made heartfelt cries and attempts to end it on moral or logical grounds, they flat out failed.  It's complicated and involves changing some British maritime regulations and other geopolitical forces more than morality to explain how systemic slavery ended.  If you thought the Civil War did it, you're a moron, also fun fact there are more de facto slaves in today's world than at any point in history.  This fact doesn't include the lesser edu-dentured servants as I now call my generation...I should copyright that shit right there.   



So it's refreshing to see someone actually propose a solution to higher education that is remarkably simple.  Don't fucking go.

Peter Thiel, the billionaire hedge funder who co-founded PayPal wants to create an incentive program to create successful dropouts and never-wents.  He's calling it the “20 Under 20″ where he and his friends pick the "best" twenty kids they can find younger than 20 years and pay them $100,000 over two years to leave their college and start a company.  There have been other economists and financial advisers who have said it'd be better to take the $100K plus, or in the case of law students & many of my classmates over $250,000, in tuition and use it for something worthwhile.

Of course, Thiel's just the first person I've seen who is actually putting his money where his mouth is--even though the whole program is what he probably makes in a day. It also helps that he throws the rocks while wearing his Stanford cap & gown (the same argument made by a "insider" always has more validity to it than an "outsider" in average person at least).



For the full article, check it out here

However, just as interesting as the program is the logic and philosophy behind it.  Basically, he's the wealthiest scamblogger in the world.  Thiel is quoted as rightly saying, and possibly my favorite out of the whole interview:

“A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed,” he says. “Education may be the only thing people still believe in in the United States. To question education is really dangerous. It is the absolute taboo. It’s like telling the world there’s no Santa Claus.”



That pretty much sums up why the scamblogs are met with such derision.  Not only are we going after the over-padded bank accounts and salaries of the schmucks who run these schools as administrators, it's literally killing a cherished myth.  To attack the value of Higher Education is like attacking the American Dream...and for a lot of people that is all they really have to lie to themselves to keep going through with the daily grind.

Similarly, the idea that attending Harvard is all about learning? Yeah. No one pays a quarter of a million dollars just to read Chaucer. The implicit promise is that you work hard to get there, and then you are set for life.  It can lead to an unhealthy sense of entitlement. “It’s what you’ve been told all your life, and it’s how schools rationalize a quarter of a million dollars in debt,” Thiel says.

It's pretty much the exact thing that I and most other scambloggers have been saying all along.  All you have to do to see that we are right is look at the numbers put out by some of my more meticulous compatriots.  Of course going to law school is a ridiculous gamble that makes no fiscal sense.  It's overpriced, there are too many lawyers, there aren't enough jobs.  But while Nando and others deliciously point out the idiocy of the arguments by the numbers, I focus generally on the opposite---the mythmaking and magical thinking behind the dream that higher ed provides. 



That's the more powerful thing.  To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, it's the power of the myth--the magical thinking--the raw often unconscious emotion behind the decisions made to voluntarily attend ivory towers of learning. 

But Thiel’s issues with education run even deeper. He thinks it’s fundamentally wrong for a society to pin people’s best hope for a better life on  something that is by definition exclusionary. “If Harvard were really the best education, if it makes that much of a difference, why not franchise it so more people can attend? Why not create 100 Harvard affiliates?” he says. “It’s something about the scarcity and the status. In education your value depends on other people failing. Whenever Darwinism is invoked it’s usually a justification for doing something mean. It’s a way to ignore that people are falling through the cracks, because you pretend that if they could just go to Harvard, they’d be fine. Maybe that’s not true.”

And that ripples down to other private colleges and universities. At an event two weeks ago, I met Geoffrey Canada, one of the stars of the documentary “Waiting for Superman.” He talked about a college he advises that argued they couldn’t possible cut their fees for the simple reason that people would deem them to be less-prestigious.



I was one of those people who tried to have a life outside of school, couldn't stand it when I was forced to sit in a class, and by the 3rd year of Law School spent most of my time playing online games while a professor did the bare minimum.  However, I come from a family and background where you went to get a master's degree, a law degree, amedical degree, or Ph.D. because that is "what one does."  Every single person from my preparatory academy high school has at least a master's degree.  Let's also be real, it's not that the people I went to school with were smart or always hanging out in the library because they loved learning.  Their parents were just richer than the people who lived in the neighboring zip code. So they bought degrees--sometimes with donations, sometimes with friends in high places, sometimes with prep courses, tutoring, etc. but make no mistake if these kids had been born in different circumstances they wouldn't have been sent off to some ridiculously overpriced school to learn something as useless as law   pottery.



It's the educational equivalent of spending thousands of dollars for a Louis Vuitton purse or whatever the kids buy nowadays--also called conspicuous consumption--to publicize their own status and high worth to the rest of the world.  Unfortunately, the majority of people cannot afford to waste thousands of dollars on a Louis Vuitton purse, and by the way you're really buying nothing--literally when you buy a purse or any other bag you're buying space to hold shit you probably don't need.  

So the knockoff and imitation versions of the bag come out, or the homage version comes out (the same is true of watches about every single mass produced watch can be traced back to a handful of luxury ones that created a paradigm--see Rolex).  The bag as an idea loses its luster.  In terms of functionality--whether it's a bag, watch, or law degree--and even my top tier friends agree--the genuine article is pretty much the same as the knockoff (hey guess what kids, everyone uses the same textbooks).  Although if you go to the Top Law Schools forum they make the exact opposite argument, all day, every day.  They do so with the most vociferous whinging I've seen since a girl in my 5th grade class complained to the headmistress that her skirt wasn't too short and shouldn't be sent home (if you didn't go to private schools you won't get it--naner naner naner--no really you lucked out private school culture is a hell of drug abuse, over-privilege, MTV reality show like victim-hood, and snootiness).  



The ravenous demand for this item continues.  In terms of a law school education, by the time the bubble gets to the top we not only have the 4th tier of law schools, we have unaccredited schools or schools opening up in India.  At that point, the bag loses all meaning and so the ultra rich will search for the next status item while the poor bastards who bought into the dream continue the quest for the now "unfashionable/undesirable" item.  That's why there's such a high turnover of trendy fashion accessories, one season it's this, the next season it's that, meanwhile we're running out of natural resources.


Unfortunately, if you spend a $100 bucks out of your paycheck it probably won't make a difference that you bought the fake bag and grew tired of it.  But when the people who can afford to spend $5,000 on a bag that's really worth $20 bucks are actually spending $10,000 for it, then everything gets inflated beyond reason.  It becomes almost impossible for someone of average means to have a chance of getting a law degree that same overpriced $5,000 bag without going into nondischargeable debt for the rest of their life causing financial ruin.  

But what if you pay $10,000 dollars for a bag that was only worth $20 bucks when your budget only allowed you to spend $100?  Welcome to the new normal.



By the end of the article, the writer points out that most of the kids in Thiel's program are not inner city geniuses tinkering in the local rec center.  Instead they're more like him, kids of privilege either financially or educationally (i.e. ivy/top tiers).  Thiel's program is attacking the prestige of higher education in general--but not dealing with the underlying, more destructive idea of elitist entitlement.  

Also, just to plant this seed in your mind, it is more likely that Thiel doesn't really give a shit about higher ed or the claims he lays against it.  The actual purpose of the program is to try and find the next Facebook-cash cow...but I'm sure that his modest "incentive" wouldn't provide him with a significant stake in any successful venture from one of the "best" kids in his program...only a cynic would think that's the true motivation behind the program....cynics...


The ultimate irony will likely be that in the future, the status symbol will be no education at all.  Because the super rich won't need a degree to get by in a system they've rigged, they never did.  And a lack of formal, higher education is the only thing that the dirt poor and the super wealthy will ever share in the future.



Till Next Time!!! FUCK GOLD GET FOOD, WATER AND AMMUNITION!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

School of Lies, University of Deceit

"Most students reasonably expect to obtain post-graduation employment that will allow them to pay off their student loan debts, and rely on this information - which may be false at worst and misleading at best - to inform their decision." ~ Sen. Barbara Boxer, liberal commie, hates America




There's not really much I have to update at this point.  However, talk about a picture being worth a thousand words.  I've often contemplated turning this blog into just a tumblr site to visually sum up my arguments and experience.  This one sums it up rather niceley - a school of law built from rejection letters.  The only thing I would add, for the artist if he or she is reading this, to use their debt letters as shrubbery. For the story go to the dreaded ATL or my fellow bloggers on the sidebar






I'll have a much longer series of posts celebrating 1 year since Outside Lies Magic began.
Also, I just wanted to point out Nando's upcoming webinar/what have you coming up:  

APRIL 7, 2011 at 12 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
-----

CLICK HERE


Till next time!!! ABA - Defending Profits, Pursuing Excuses!!!