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!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Saul as Saint: Very Little Point or Time Left

When this is the cover of what I'd consider to be a fairly "mainstream" media publication:

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I'd say that the jig is very nearly up.  The article is worth the read as it is a pretty accurate insight into a very small portion of the legal world--the Major Leagues of this shitty profession--BigLaw.  Just saying that makes me queasy.

Now let's be clear there's always going to be some level of sensationalism with these kinds of stories but the "market correction," "force contraction," "rightsizing," of the legal industry is going to happen.  I don't think this segment of the population will disappear as there will always be some form of the BigLaw, just like how many understand that technically we will very likely never totally "run out" of oil on Earth.  It may become economically prohibitive due to costs, but unlike oil, there's no fracking on the horizon to save the day and increase supply.  




By the way, speaking of fucking Fracking, this should be the kind of thing that the Government steps in and taps some of that unused legal talent to advocate on behalf of people but fuck it they can't even afford full time employees at EPA.  If you can see if for free, because who can afford HBO without IBR, I'd recommend watching Gasland if you really want a reason to hang yourself.

But unlike domestic oil companies--there won't be any new big money trends to swoop in for attorneys in the past like the glut MedMal against doctors (both the good and bad) or Asbestos against companies (who didn't know any better then dodged the bill like all people do--pieces of shit) or Personal Injury (that's a beg borrow and steal if you're lucky type gig), sorry Gamer rights real people don't give a shit about your character points or whatever the fuck it is you do on your experience machine to avoid the actual world.

There may still be slivers of markets that can afford to have a use for a BigLaw aresenal--the likes of Apple/Samsung/others that use litigation as a business strategy (which also won't last forever either).  But how many of the 150-200 firms are needed full time for a handful of companies out of the Fortune 500?

The situation is inevitable and unavoidable as the article points out, everyone knows it--but no one wants to say it out loud for the fear that like a disturbed butterfly it will disappear from sight forever (isn't that cutesy---blow me).  My one critique is that the author could have spent some time extrapolating the ripple effect from BigLaw's demise.  The article references one poor BigLaw attorney who was laid off while pregnant and managed through much hardship to find a criminal law gig that paid $40K which is nowhere near the $230K that she had.  Normally I'd say fuck her but I'm guessing she only maybe made a couple of years of that salary which get eaten up quick with other expenses, especially in a city.  

Add undergrad, possibly grad, and then law school debt and you're looking at a hefty bill that a decade of $230K a year could barely make a dent in.  It was fairly common for my fellow classmates to be facing upwards of $250K of debt before they even started working the kinds of jobs this lady managed to get as a fallback.  She may have gotten the chance to pay down some of that but honestly the odds are brutal.  It reminds me of a very well done element of one of my formerly favorite law movies A Civil Action where Travolta goes through the dispassionate odds for every case to be successful.  The numbers for law grads are becoming impossible to ignore and it doesn't take the awesome, deep dive take downs of my fellow bloggers like Matt and Nando.

It's just hard fact.  If you go to law school you're fucked.
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I know that some of my readers may have wondered where I went and why there are no more epic rants.  Well I keep debating about whether to post my already composed "farewell" posts then disappear into the ether, but then things like the above keep popping up.  Honestly, I'm also happier not thinking about it even though I still follow other blogs and headlines and developments.  When I write this, I go into a true meditation on other aspects of this and most of that doesn't make it to the keyboards.  It's not a happy place and I don't want to dwell on something that doesn't matter to my life anymore.

I was one of the very lucky few who managed to escape in tact, which by the way meant running from the law faster than Brian Tamanaha towards fame a wet cat from a rabid dog.  Part of that fact still makes me feel guilty somehow.  This summer, it will have been 4 years since I graduated from law school, and my life is just now on track with where it should have been 7 years ago.  Meanwhile, very little has changed the schools are just targeting the even dumber lemmings with dreams of a place and time that is no more.

Of the classmates I still keep in touch with, a lot are solo--some are in small firms doing whatever they can to still get in money---and some of us have left it entirely.  Very few want to do whatever they are doing in the law for much longer--everyone else dreams of something other than this.

I had a long conversation with one of my classmates who unlike some went back to her old pre-law job which she managed to do only because she's one of the nicest, and easiest people to be around.  Many post-grad lemmings won't have this chance because either a) they have no pre-law job to go back to or b) they are the type of people who are attracted to law school which means they're generally the kinds of antisocial, borderline assholes that make the world a worse place so people don't exactly line up to welcome them with open arms.  That's something the article touched on:

Even lawyers with a dedicated mentor have trouble making equity partner unless they meet a second criterion: demonstrating a potential for attracting clients. There is an irony that flows from this. Lawyers at an elite firm like Mayer Brown have typically spent their lives amassing intellectual credentials. They are high-school valedictorians and graduates of elite universities, with mantles full of Latin honors. They have made law review at top law schools and clerked for federal judges. When, somewhere between the second and fifth year of their legal careers, they discover that brainpower is only incidental to their professional advancement—that the real key is an aptitude for schmoozing—it can be a rude awakening.

The typical lawyer, especially the higher up in the tiers you go--and this is from my anecdotal experience, is about as easy to deal with as trying to assfuck Temple Grandin with a buggywhip.  Add to this the fact that no one willingly goes to see a lawyer except for people looking to use the justice system as a lottery or get revenge on someone and these people aren't exactly Saul Goodman....Anyway back to my friend.

I asked how it was going, and I could feel the smile on my face because I was genuinely interested and wanted to hear how my friend was after such a long time (since we now live on different sides of the country because in this economy).  Then my smile went away as rapidly as it had appeared when I heard her answer.

Without skipping a beat she started, "If I had known that I'd go on a journey that cost me 3 years of my best years and a fortune I'll be paying off forever only to end up where I began..."  Her voice tapered off in a long drawn out sigh and a stream of consciousness sorrow that you only reveal to people you know.  You know the butterfly scare-away kind of stuff that everyone knows but no one vocalizes.  She lost the marriage that she had been in for 7 years before law school during, and had missed a lot of time with family and friends outside of it because of the grind.  Just wasting time on shit that doesn't matter to anyone or anything.

I tried to change the subject not realizing I had opened pandora's box of regrets for the lost opportunities, moments, and memories she gave up because of her choice.  I talked her through it somewhat without trying to be patronizing or condescending like so many law school deans, administrators, professors and others do nowadays to whoever will listen and is still dumb enough to pass over money and their future for a fraud.

That's the point--even though the article talks about BigLaw's historical prominence, and stability, and the "position" it gives one in society, the compensation models, the competitiveness, the anxiety etc. this gets lost.


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These are people and what we have let our society do in the name of "education" and "empowerment" and "bettering" what didn't need to be touched in the first place is lost.  That's where my vitriol and rage and calling out of the fucks like Tamanaha and Campos and all of the other schmucks comes from that they never seem to address directly, only at angles and half-truths.  It's not about professional ethics, or career husbandry, or any of that other shit.  You are ruining the lives of my generation with falsehoods and dreams and false expectations to unjustly enrich yourself.

Only the crash will stop that.


Till Next Time!!! Magna Carta Holy Grail?! Oh Fuck you.

5 comments:

  1. Great post, Demos. Seeing that "higher education" has been a thoroughly corrupt, vile, protected business - for decades - it is truly hard to believe that a Congressman from Vermont led the charge to create land grant colleges - during the U.S. Civil War! Based on the rise of corporate state over the last 100 years, it is even harder to believe that a U.S. president had the balls to sign this bill into law.

    Hell, at one point, industrial colleges and universities were looking to improve the nation, by teaching agriculture, animal husbandry, humanities, the sciences, etc. Professors then were not in it for the money. In some ways, they were doing a public service.

    While many still could not afford to leave their job and attend school, tuition was dirt cheap compared to today's prohibitive costs. Now, the "professors" and administrators do not give one damn about their students. College "presidents" and department chairs are too busy, trying to build a legacy - by constructing unnecessary, monolithic buildings in the digital age!

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  2. I feel I could wind up like your friend going back to where I started. I really do not want to deal with a bunch of overpaid bureaucrats relishing in the demise of my short legal career. But the nondischargable debt really makes it a high probability. Keep writing. I have to admit I am selfish and the scamblogs are like free group therapy. I enjoy Nandos work as well. God help the poor bastards who go to law school with no connections in these times.

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  3. Is TTR down permanently?

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  4. Third Tier Reality? No it's not down that doesn't even make sense...I can't even.

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  5. Excellent post and I hope you post another entry soon.

    I went to a school ranked between 15 and 20, according to USNWR (which as we all know, is rigged BS). I am $200,000 in debt. I lost my relationship to law school. I'm nearly 30 and I live at home with my parents. I make $45,000 and I work two jobs. I spent my weekend reading the Code of Federal Regulations and people wonder why I'm bitter. Law school has sapped my enjoyment of life. It has destroyed my hope and darkened my future.

    I was a sucker for going to law school. I believed the lies and misleading statements put out by the law school's career services office. They don't care what happens to you. The only thing they care about is your signature on the promissory loan note. Law school is a get poor quick scheme.

    Judging from how the various law school lawsuits have gone, it is completely legal in America to open an institution that promises $160,000 salaries to graduates, charge them $150-200,000, and then abdicate any responsibility after impoverishing them and destroying their lives. Law school deans are evil scum.

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