Lion of the Blogosphere

Too many law students

Yesterday, there was an op-ed in the NY Times by Steven J. Harper, the author of “The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis.”

Until student loans bear a rational relationship to individual law school outcomes, law schools will exploit their lack of accountability, the legal education market will remain dysfunctional, and equilibrium between supply and demand will remain elusive.

I believe that law schools, as well as all other types of schools, should be made responsible for paying the student loans when the students default, not the government. That would force schools to be more accountable. That was one of the implied suggestions of Harper.

I also believe that the maximum amount of loans that students are allowed to borrow should be lowered. Currently there is no cap at all on how much one is allowed to borrow for graduate school, and that has given all sorts of graduate schools free rein to unconscionably raise their tuition.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 26, 2015 at 1:01 PM

Posted in Labor Markets, Law

101 Responses

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  1. I know of a young lady, who is a Columbia Law Student. Quite a looker and petite. Firms will hire her, regardless of grades, prestigiousness of law school and other significant credentials. Of course, her attractiveness will be the main selling point.


    August 26, 2015 at 1:24 PM

  2. Supply and demand in education is not allowed. The government enjoys its student loan monopoly and the social engineering that entails. The ultimate debt slaves are the backers (cosigners) and students who chose the wrong degree, and aren’t allowed to discharge that lifetime of debt in bankruptcy court.


    August 26, 2015 at 1:45 PM

  3. Yes! And what’s worse, all the newfound tuition money is going not towards any good or effective use, but instead towards internal bureaucracies that serve no one but a growing class of paper pushers.

    Sagi Is My Guru

    August 26, 2015 at 1:57 PM

  4. Mark Cuban has proposed a maximum amount of student borrowing too (under $10k, IIRC).

    Dave Pinsen

    August 26, 2015 at 2:07 PM

  5. In your opinion how good does a law school have to be to be worth going to? Are any of the top 14 still worth it if you can get in, or would it be an even smaller subset of them? I’ve been considering going to law school because I’m pretty sure I could get close to a 180 on the LSAT, and a friend of mine who goes to a top 10 law school says that LSAT score is by far the most important factor in admissions. I wouldn’t go if I couldn’t get into one of the top 10 or so though.


    August 26, 2015 at 2:23 PM

    • Top 14 is worth it, Top 7 (Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, NYU, University of Pennyslvania) would be even better.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 26, 2015 at 3:42 PM

      • LOL at sneaking Penn in there…


        August 26, 2015 at 4:06 PM

      • The starting salaries of BIGLAW is about $150K, which remains stagnant. It was the same 10 years ago.

        You don’t get the bang for your buck, graduating from those schools and then slaving away in BIGLAW, when you have student loans to pay, on top of the high cost living areas like NYC.

        We’ll start with take home pay of $75K, after taxes.


        August 26, 2015 at 4:29 PM

      • I think like in any field it’s the quality of the student not of the school that matters.


        August 26, 2015 at 5:09 PM

      • “I think like in any field it’s the quality of the [credential]…”


        Most any ‘real skill’ will be learned on the job.

        The ‘skill’ that no one bothers to learn is RAINMAKING. For better or worse, if you can bring money, the rules no longer apply to you….


        August 27, 2015 at 5:36 PM

    • HYS if you want to jack around during law school and have a reasonable chance at a no-effort high salary job.

      Don’t go at all if your idea of what lawyers do is what law professors do. Unless you want to be a law professor.


      August 26, 2015 at 4:08 PM

      • I wouldn’t clump H with Y. There’s clearly a difference in outcomes vs. effort. No grades at Y for one and less gunners.


        August 27, 2015 at 10:38 AM

      • LOL doing nothing but partying for 3 years at elite U = BIGLAW. ‘Gunning’ at elite U = SCOTUS. ‘Gunning’ at normal U = BIGLAW. See the overlap?


        August 27, 2015 at 5:33 PM

    • If you don’t mind living in flyover Prolemeristan, I think flagship state universities (i.e. University of Missouri, University of Alabama, etc.) are worth paying instate tuition for- again, that’s if you don’t mind living in Missouri or Alabama.

      Sagi Is My Guru

      August 26, 2015 at 4:09 PM

      • Use my term Meriprolestan (merryprolahstan). It’s sexier sounding!

        Perhaps the Southwest would be a great place. Colorado is indeed a very agreeable state.

        I’m surprised as to why Lion made NYC his home, when the Southwest is less status conscious, and the girls are hotter.


        August 27, 2015 at 12:12 PM

      • It was a mistake.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 27, 2015 at 5:28 PM

      • Ha, JS I used the term as an homage to you. It is a catchy term.

        Sagi Is My Guru

        August 27, 2015 at 5:36 PM

      • Of course if you plan to live in NY under no circumstances would I recommend going to Flyover State U Law.

        Sagi Is My Guru

        August 27, 2015 at 5:38 PM

      • Lion, before heading back to the Southwest, you should visit that tiny island before Staten Island, if you haven’t yet.

        Could Governor’s Island be the upcoming SWPL Island? It’s not far from the Brooklyn bobos.


        August 27, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    • Take home pay is actually $97,141 (assumes residence in California).


      August 26, 2015 at 8:51 PM

      • Factor in student loan payments, rent and gassy (a necessity in CA), and how much are you looking at when it comes to disposable income? Not really all that much!


        August 27, 2015 at 10:28 AM

  6. Wow, you really missed the lede today, huh?


    August 26, 2015 at 2:26 PM

  7. Having a daughter in college, I can tell you this is a big issue for the middle class. It’s one of the primary reasons that higher education costs have skyrocketed way above the rate of inflation. It’s just like 3rd party payer for healthcare. Kids don’t understand how much debt they are taking on, and they are paying for it years after the colleges have cashed those checks.

    Reforms like tying loans to student outcomes, limiting the yearly amount, and slowly restricting loans to degrees that have a reasonable rate of return are all part of fixing the problem.

    Mike Street Station

    August 26, 2015 at 2:31 PM

    • It would seem like just leaving it to the free market would have these effects. Providing there is absolutely no government subsidy, of course. But then I guess the lender would have to confirm majors, courseload, grades etc.

      Mrs Stitch

      August 26, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    • All student debt held by the federal government should be unconditionally forgiven and the government should start subsidizing higher education like most of the developed world does rather than just contracting with individual students to aid and allowing the institutions to raise their tuition like crazy.

      Either that or NO student aid should be given at all, leading to a sharp drop in college attendance and requiring employers to get real about their requirements. Probably around 80% of jobs that require a college degree don’t really *require* a college degree.


      August 26, 2015 at 4:55 PM

      • If the government total subsidizes higher ed, meaning more than it does already, then entrance requirements must become very strict. We can’t afford to finance useless higher ed for every warm body who applies. Right now it’s completely different, with state U taking all comers, including highly disabled/retarded, and holding their hands through bachelor degree. Because everyone deserves a BA.

        Mrs Stitch

        August 27, 2015 at 2:07 PM

  8. 100% true. I had to take out some loans for law school, not everything, but partly. It is so ridiculously easy to get tens of thousands of dollars that I almost could not believe it. You fill out some web forms, fill in the tuition amount, and boom, $45,000 is “yours.”

    Law schools have no skin in the game at all. They benefit regardless of whether the students get jobs. Once they money is transferred to the school, it’s gone. And the student is on the hook, often with no realistic path to pay it back.

    The ABA should be more like the AMA, which strictly controls the number of accredited medical schools in the country. I’d say 50% of the law schools should be shuttered immediately. Especially all the TTT schools.


    August 26, 2015 at 2:56 PM

    • Not meaning this unkindly to lawyers but shouldn’t the AMA become more like the ABA and allow more doctors?

      not too late

      August 29, 2015 at 1:24 AM

      • The AMA alone does not accredit medical schools It co-sponsors the LCME, which is the accrediting organization. No one in his right mind would put up with the lengthy misery of medical school, residency and fellowship(s) for outcomes akin to sh*tlaw.


        August 29, 2015 at 4:48 PM

  9. Lion,
    Are you going to write on the shooting?


    August 26, 2015 at 3:12 PM

  10. Most law students etc. are crybabies. They want security without taking any possible risk. The best they will ever do is 80 hr weeks with a “nice salary,” serving as a serf in the BIGLAW fiefdom. The rest will only be able to find terrible jobs because of this desire for security.

    A law degree is an easy ticket to earning huge amounts of money….if you can step outside the box. And if you don’t love doing it? Forget it.

    More importantly….


    August 26, 2015 at 4:06 PM

    • You’re an idiot. For a young lawyer, the opposite of security would be opening a solo practice. A few years ago a 20-year veteran civil litigator in San Jose wrote an article stating that he had to gross $225,000 to clear $100,000, which of course is less than, say, a similarly experienced .municipal train operator or bus driver would make. Then you have the structural problem that in an era of government corruption, the courts are effectively closed. I heard a San Francisco lawyer say that SF judges are refusing to accept new cases as part if a sit- down strike against what they feel is inadequate state funding. Nobody has any incentive to settle if there are no courtrooms available.


      August 26, 2015 at 9:01 PM

    • Did I ever say immediately open a solo practice? No I did not.

      I said a law degree is an easy ticket to earning huge amounts of money. It is. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

      If you take the path everyone else takes or wants to take, you fail.

      If you find an undervalued sweet spot (read: niche, no competition, minor risk for outsize reward), you win.


      August 27, 2015 at 2:17 AM

      • The money in law is working for BIGLAW. There’s no money in small practices in small markets.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 27, 2015 at 8:26 AM

      • Swank,

        The average lawyer makes about $40,000 a year and the salary distribution is not normal. There is that $150,000 spike for BIGLAW starters at the high end but most lawyers don’t make that.

        There are no niche markets in law. You need a critical number of lawyers to generate legal work and a sophisticated business environment to create sophisticated legal work.


        August 27, 2015 at 9:53 AM

      • Actually, there is one niche market, patent law, which is boring and requires that you have an engineering degree and preferable have worked in engineering for a year or two before going to law school. And it doesn’t necessarily pay better than BIGLAW, but it’s a lot easier to break into if you have the qualifications.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 27, 2015 at 9:58 AM

      • Lion, you do know BIGLAW is serf work and long hours???

        Your angst of not being able to work for a large firm, was god sent.


        August 27, 2015 at 10:32 AM

      • Yes, I’m sure I’m too old for it now. But all entry-level work for 20-year-olds is serf work. Although the hours suck, but the hours suck at many other “good” careers as well. Overall, an MBA from Harvard is better than a law degree from Harvard.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 27, 2015 at 10:46 AM

      • my colleagues and i put in 60 hours weeks now, in the first two years of medical school, without even seeing patients. most people I talk to seem depressed. we feel like serfs and the real serf work hasn’t even begun.


        August 27, 2015 at 11:18 AM

      • The average lawyer makes about $40,000 a year

        The median base salary even at small firms is ~ 70k.

        the salary distribution is not normal

        Everyone has heard these tired refrains 3 billion times.

        There are no niche markets in law.

        Wrong! Every few years new laws get passed which make certain types of litigation less cost prohibitive in relation to the benefit and boon to be had.

        You need a critical number of lawyers to generate legal work and a sophisticated business environment to create sophisticated legal work.

        Blah blah blah. This is just what is told to everyone and many people believe it.

        There’s no money in small practices in small markets.

        Wrong. Either 1) you go to BIGLAW and master office politics and furiously leverage the BIGLAW + elite credential on your resume to leave with targeted business before you can become subject to the 5-6 year review that makes clear you will never be partner, 2) leverage your credentials to hunt for small firms taking big risks who need workers = minimal risk for huge return if successful or if things do not work out, leave, 3) Know people with money; target female classmates who come from money — if you get in (innuendo in) with them, you will be one of them and taken care of…..or some combination of all 3).

        Or you can try to fit the ideal of a drone sitting in a cubicle proofing prospectuses for 2 years, then maybe drafting a few documents after 3 years, etc.

        Lion, you do know BIGLAW is serf work and long hours

        BIGLAW is office politics and if you do not know office politics then all you will ever be is a serf.

        When I said ‘if you don’t love it, don’t do it’ I was serious. The politkin’ and rain making is where the money comes in.


        August 27, 2015 at 2:46 PM

      • “The median base salary even at small firms is ~ 70k.”

        There are very few people working at such “small firms.” They are, by definition, two small to hire a significant number of associated. The legal market is mostly divided between big prestigious firms, solo practioners most of whom struggle or make only modest incomes relative to BIGLAW, low paying insurance-defense work, government work (which may be a better deal than being a solo practioner or insurance defense grinding). The best gig is in-house at a corporation. You can usually work 8-hour days. But to get that job you need BIGLAW on your resume.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 27, 2015 at 5:32 PM

      • There are very few people working at such “small firms.”

        “According to the Lawyer Statistical Report, only 14% of attorneys are employed in large law firms of more than 100 lawyers. The large majority of attorneys (63%) and law firm employees work in small offices of ten attorneys or less.”

        The best gig is in-house at a corporation.

        For a grinder, sure.

        The best real gig is generating business and playing general while having associates play field commander. Anyone who says ‘litigation’ or ‘law’ is boring is speaking from a GRINDER’s POV. Running the show and making rain is nothing short of exhilarating. But if you don’t love that sort of thing, don’t do it at all…because that’s the bread and butter.

        But to get that job you need BIGLAW on your resume.

        The most powerful leverage to the path above is BIGLAW + elite U on your resume, true. Not sure why anyone would want to In-House; for those who enjoy defending the status quo and don’t have a ‘moral integrity is part of my work life as well as personal life’ it works I guess.


        August 27, 2015 at 5:41 PM

      • he is further suffering from the delusion that all law school grads can be personal injury sheisters or God knows what other value transference/criminal activity.

        the cost of professional school and of all formal education is absurd. it’s all been an anachronism since the printing press. it’s as if it’s all just remedial for those who never learned to read.

        the reason behind both the sheisterism of lawyers and of education is ultimately a post-scarcity economy which at the same time demands that everyone “work” for a living. that is, even when that work is theft.

      • SWANK you are obviously a buffoon and clearly know nothing of the legal market.

        gold eagles, 30-06 shells, and SPAM are the currency of tomorrow!

        August 27, 2015 at 11:43 PM

      • No a law degree is a coded class changer. If you are not using it to OWN something you are using it incorrectly.

        Whether the profession or whatever else is value transference etc. is beside the point. The credential is meant to be used in a certain way but the system, the way it is, won’t come out and say what.

        And I already said if you don’t love it and what’s necessary to make use of it…don’t do it. Everyone can’t, because they don’t.


        August 28, 2015 at 1:13 AM

      • Sheisters?

        The true number of premature deaths associated with preventable harm to patients was estimated at more than 400,000 per year. Serious harm seems to be 10- to 20-fold more common than lethal harm.

        That’s just an example of harm being done in one “PI” area. There are countless other financial and constitutional frauds and injustices being perpetrated on the public(in many other non-PI areas of law) as we speak.

        When someone reaps a massive benefit from criminal or illegal behavior, there is nothing wrong with extracting every last nickel from that someone. Most lawyers and people who would be lawyers can’t do this. Launching broadsides against powerful entities is difficult.

        So, if all you can do is grind and help others hold on to their riches (mostly stolen or unjustly extracted) then yes, go to BIGLAW, try to make partner (spoiler alert: you will fail), and go ride off into the sunset as in-house counsel.

        Is law school 3 years too long? Yes. Is most of education a sham? Yes.
        But you play the hand you are dealt. And there’s a way to play the hand in a way that adds value to society.


        August 28, 2015 at 2:54 PM

      • and he shared staff and offices with plenty of personal injury folks. they were stupid, obese, and totally amoral but they made bank.


        August 28, 2015 at 6:26 PM

  11. This was a good article.

    I’m a 2011 law grad. I graduated with 80k in debt into an abysmal job market. Found salvation from the oil and gas boom, which enabled me to pay off all my debt.

    Now that oil and gas has entered the bust phase, I am planning ahead for the next step, which for me is probably small town law. In smaller cities markets there is a shortage of attorneys doing real estate, business, low-level criminal stuff. It’s a realistic path to a middle-class life, especially since law school enrollments continue to drop and boomer lawyers will begin to retire over the next 10 years.

    Ava Lon

    August 26, 2015 at 4:28 PM

    • If you are young and healthy and have already paid off your law school debts, you will have a better future lifestyle learning HVAC, if you like working indoors, or engine repair, if you insist on working in the relatively fresh air of an open bay. Or sign up as a JAG and cross-train into logistics or intel or something like that. As a 2011 law grad you have not yet had time to realize the unpleasantness of working with the law grads of the 60s and 70s and 80s and 90s who have by now accumulated enough power to make your professional life miserable simply because they want to. Also, belated though this advice might be, it is much better to go to the number 14 school with connections who can coach you on scoring well in the 1L tests than it is to go to any school but YHS (i.e. the fourth through thirteenth schools) without such a coach. If you get in to YHS, you will be taken care of no matter what you do, anywhere else, even Lion’s other four top 7 schools, you are mostly on your own. Don’t go to a 15 or below school without a pre-existing set of professional connections who can help you find a job, just don’t, unless you have genuine and well-founded confidence in your money-making abilities. In which case why not just go right into business? In old Hollywood it was just as much fun and artistically rewarding to be a producer as a writer, am I not right?

      howitzer daniel

      August 26, 2015 at 8:32 PM

      • I’ve thought about switching careers, I still have that option. Lion has written about the downsides of blue-collar jobs; I think my 60 year old self might curse the day I left law for HVAC.

        Another thing to consider: many young lawyers out there aren’t actually developing their careers; the young lawyers who put the time building, skills, knowledge, and connections will be in a good position when all those 70s and 80s law grads are in the nursing home; then I’ll be the office bully.

        For people with realistic expectations, there are opportunities out there. What about the 60% of graduates who landed legal jobs? I went to a top 20 law school where it was probably more like 80%. All my classmates that I keep in touch are doing fine. My parents live in a city of 40,00 people in a Midwestern state with a shortage of lawyers.

        Ava Lon

        August 26, 2015 at 8:54 PM

      • Lemme correct you on a technicality, HVAC service techs work outdoors as much as indoors because most condensers are air-cooled. You have to like getting dirty in HVAC and work in extreme weather conditions. Being athletic helps, got to be able to shlepp those units and crawl all over.

        I worked 16 hours today to come home with $1,000 clean in hand. I think it’s not bad, but not a big deal either. The same money in 10-12 hours would be good, because you would still have time to live. I’ve got to get better at my job.


        August 26, 2015 at 10:49 PM

  12. My seven year old grandson came back from six weeks in Israel and spent a few hours preparing ingredients in his father’s restaurant. I think he is better off with cooking and HVAC skills than going to law school. It’s good to go to college for knowledge sake, like to study science, or languages, or whatever – but to make money it’s better to stay away from that system. Most salaries aren’t enough to support a normal family, own a house, a couple of cars and have your wife stay home with kids.


    August 26, 2015 at 5:18 PM

    • So you would advise your grandson to go into Mexican labor or be an HVAC technician over going to law school?


      August 27, 2015 at 9:58 AM

      • If he has ability and inclination, law school is fine, otherwise owning a restaurant or an HVAC business is a good idea, again you need some aptitude for it. I think starting by chopping vegetables with Mexicans or schlepping tools for your grandfather is the right way to go about it. Obviously, a Jewish kid will not be doing it forever, but I would make him do all Mexican jobs until he is good enough at them. Also, it’s important for a business owner to value labor, this is the way to develop an appreciation of other people’s work.


        August 27, 2015 at 10:48 AM

      • @Map

        As far as advice, it’s very simple:

        Find a reasonable compromise between what you would like to do and what enables you to support a normal family. I don’t think it matters what you do, you just have to be cut out for it to a sufficient degree to make it to the top or have your own niche in that field.

        Also, it’s good to get paid in cash, because taxes are high. Avoid being a middle class loser who pays for everybody. Rich is good, poor is good, flying under the radar is good, middle class isn’t good. I’m not gonna work 16 hours to earn $1,000 and pay 40% in taxes. Got better things to do.


        August 27, 2015 at 12:00 PM

      • Yakov, Someone earning $500K/year, as an employee in NYC, is a loser in your book?

        Half of his paycheck is gone, after tax deductions.

        There’s been news out there, that many young people shun full time work altogether. They would rather make good use of their time.


        August 27, 2015 at 12:26 PM

      • @JS

        No, to be left with $250,000 is good because it enables you to cover normal expenses of having a house, two cars, private tuition for a bunch of kids with the wife staying home. I’m for paying taxes after you cover your expenses. It’s not my fault that everything is so expensive.


        August 27, 2015 at 6:23 PM

  13. In 1987, I dropped out of New England School of Law after one painful year in the night program, while working full-time as a software engineer. In retrospect, this was one of my few good career decisions.

    E. Rekshun

    August 26, 2015 at 9:40 PM


    Here is what a typical HVAC technician makes, on average, $40,000. The lowest posted salary is $27,000.


    August 27, 2015 at 9:56 AM

    • The median salary in NYC is $56K, and I believe that someone at the top of the profession in NYC like Yakov would be making around $100K as he says he does, although it would seem like 90% or more of HVAC people make less, most of them significantly less, than he does.

      But HVAC is definitely not some magic panacea against the high cost of going to college.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM

      • Lion, not to berate Yakov because I genuinely like his posts, but I think this meme that has spread across the right-wing blogosphere of college being such a waste is ultimately very destructive. It ignores one salient fact: it is almost impossible to find any decent job that does not require a college degree. College is not some marginal value calculation where you can measure the cost-benefits of college returns against not going to college. College is the baseline. Non-college grads do not compete with college grads for the same jobs or even in the same markets in any meaningful way. Corporate HR departments at firms of all sizes screen-out non-college grads. They fire people who have lied about getting degrees, even if their work output was exemplary.

        In other words, the entire work culture is oriented around the college degree. That is not going to change anytime soon.

        Yet, people on this blog and others are seriously advising not going to college? Is this what they would tell their own children?


        August 27, 2015 at 10:35 AM

      • This is a great comment and I intend to write a blog post dedicated to it.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 27, 2015 at 10:47 AM

      • Lion,

        Thanks for the praise.


        August 27, 2015 at 12:23 PM

      • Map is right. But the same logic applies to law school degrees.

        “Legal academics and journalists have marshaled statistics purporting to show that enrolling in law school is irrational. We investigate the economic value of a law degree and find the opposite: given current tuition levels, the median and even 25th percentile annual earnings premiums justify enrollment. For most law school graduates, the net present value of a law degree typically exceeds its cost by hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

        As usual, swank is right.


        August 27, 2015 at 5:31 PM

      • A self-serving paper written by people who work for the educational-industrial complex defending it.

        The personal experience of anyone with a law degree who has tried to find work other than as a lawyer is that a law degree makes it HARDER to find jobs and not easier. The opportunity cost of law school is high. Getting and MBA would have been a much better investment in future higher earnings.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 27, 2015 at 5:41 PM

      • The personal experience of anyone with a law degree who has tried to find work other than as a lawyer is that a law degree makes it HARDER to find jobs and not easier.

        Which has nothing to do with the paper. I agree that going to law school in order to become a non-lawyer is stupid.

        The opportunity cost of law school is high. Getting an MBA would have been a much better investment in future higher earnings.

        Maybe if it’s parlayed into a CEO position, but that’s not reality.

        Most individuals who receive a high amount of education seem to be grinders. And for those people, the general advice about law school is probably correct.


        August 27, 2015 at 5:55 PM

      • “Which has nothing to do with the paper.”

        Part of the point of the paper was that even law graduates who don’t get jobs in law have higher incomes, and I assure you that is not because of the law degree but IN SPITE OF the law degree.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 27, 2015 at 8:12 PM

      • Swank,

        Your paper reference does not make any sense. The logic does not apply. The returns to a law degree are not analogous to the returns to a college degree. HR departments are requiring college degrees for jobs that don’t need them. This is a corporate culture problem.


        August 28, 2015 at 12:02 AM

      • Handwave handwave….


        August 28, 2015 at 1:07 AM

      • I assure you that is not because of the law degree but IN SPITE OF the law degree.

        You can “assure me” all you like. Where’s your non-anecdotal evidence?

        Sounds a lot like truthiness to me.


        August 28, 2015 at 2:38 PM

      • Have you actually gone to law school? Do you have experience looking for a non-legal job while having a law degree? If the answer to these questions is “no,” then you simply don’t know what you are talking about.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2015 at 8:50 PM

      • Nice deflection. Bluff called.


        August 28, 2015 at 9:44 PM

      • @Swank

        Not really “calling a bluff” – It is very obvious from your comments that you did not attend law school and that you don’t have the faintest idea of what you are talking about. Your comments remind me of your the Alabama sorority thread. You clearly had no idea what you were talking about, and argued with people who actually attended college in very similar environments and did have insights into the controversy and tangents that came up.

        There are special interests that pressure the media into filtering the information they disseminate to the public. If someone has a life experience, often they develop a viewpoint about that experience that is contrary to the dogma that is propagated by the media.


        August 29, 2015 at 11:32 AM

      • I know what I’m talking about better than either of you. It’s very obvious that neither of you went particularly far into the profession. Go try bullshitting soneone else: bluff called.


        August 29, 2015 at 2:18 PM

      • And which comment of mine are you referring to one the other thread, guy, so I can call you out on more bullshit.


        August 29, 2015 at 2:19 PM

    • Had I taken the salary survey as something that would apply to me, I wouldn’t have gone to trade school. Just like computer programming salaries had no relationship to what we were making on Wall Street, I understood that this is the case across the board.


      August 27, 2015 at 10:58 PM

      • Btw, Yakov, Trade Schools like Lincoln Tech are extremely expensive. They run around $30,000 a year.


        August 28, 2015 at 9:45 PM

      • Yes they are and they are, but you have to find ways not to pay. I didn’t pay a penny for APEX.


        August 30, 2015 at 11:50 PM

  15. Aside from BIGLaw a lot of government attorneys do very well. I have some friends who are attorneys for the state government and they make about $125k a year. When you factor in the benefits and pension that is pushing $200k. Plus if you are working for a state government somewhere you can live in a low cost area and it is a lot less stress.


    August 27, 2015 at 10:53 AM

  16. Slightly O/T and HBD related:

    It appears that East Asians have a propensity for autistic like, circle jerk activities (or what we call grinds). Highly overrepresented in our higher learning institutions, but severely underrepresented as scholarly professionals, like Jews and Whites.


    August 27, 2015 at 11:31 AM

    • I like this site, because the author managed to make comparisons between Middle Easterners and East Asians, and East Asians are seemingly not very “pro-social” in comparison, which has been mentioned numerous times in the blogosphere, including yours. It’s no coincidence, that highly observable individuals, are able to make the same inferences of a particular group. Stereotypes don’t exist in a vacuum, and HBD can prove why stereotypes exists.


      August 27, 2015 at 12:57 PM

    • Bingo.

      The people who whine about their degrees leading to misery or not a lot of jobs are grinders. Grinders want to sit there, focus on their task all day, and go home.

      One must be dynamic. JDs, MBAs, MDs etc. They are ‘big boy’ credentials. If you don’t know what you’re doing or if you don’t have a plan, you wasted your time. If you can’t readily adapt to the markets in your area, you wasted your time. If you aren’t in it to own something in the long term, you wasted your time.


      August 27, 2015 at 2:56 PM

      • Swank,

        I don’t know what you are “bingoing” about because you don’t seem to understand the problem that is being specified by this blog. The issue that people are having with the law degree is that it is failing to get people the entry-level job they need to start a career-track in the legal profession in the first place. You have people graduating law school that end up not getting jobs as attorneys. Law schools even count as successful being employed nine months after graduation as a win, even if that “win” is not a job as an associate. Law schools are incapable of placing at least half of their law graduates in jobs as lawyers. That is an epic fail.

        Lion has written about this extensively on his blog. To have a successful career does not require “being dynamic” or “having a plan” or “adapting to markets.” It requires getting on the proper career track and riding it along without any derailments. If your first job out of college is working in the financial analyst program at Goldman Sachs, then your next job is going to be as a financial analyst at some other ibank. If, however, your first job out of college is flipping burgers, then your next job is going to be…flipping burgers.

        That is the essence of career-tracking. If, at any point, you fail to track, then you will never get back on. Your career is dead in the water no matter what “market moves” you intend to make.

        Here is an example of how worthless these academic papers are:


        August 28, 2015 at 12:18 AM

      • No, you don’t understand a dead horse being beaten and what the criticism applies to: a very specific vision of law school and a path out of law school.

        And you also don’t understand who the rules apply to and who they don’t: if you learn to bring money, you can chart your own course. Grinders want to be mini-academics and they want to follow rules as dictated by someone else.

        Nothing wrong with that, but those people != everyone.


        August 28, 2015 at 1:05 AM

      • The purpose of going to law school is to get a job as a lawyer or otherwise it was a huge waste of time and money. Yest 40% of graduates don’t find jobs as lawyers, and many who do find low-paying crappy jobs in law.

        It’s not like a Bachelor’s degree which is required for every decent career track except for HVAC.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2015 at 8:23 AM

      • “And you also don’t understand who the rules apply to and who they don’t: if you learn to bring money, you can chart your own course. Grinders want to be mini-academics and they want to follow rules as dictated by someone else.”

        Swank, this is ridiculous. What do you mean “learn to bring money”? When you fail to get a job as an associate at a law firm how do you plan on “learning to bring money”?


        August 28, 2015 at 1:35 PM

      • The purpose of going to law school is to get a job as a lawyer or otherwise it was a huge waste of time and money.

        While I agree it is stupid to do that, it doesn’t seem to be a net negative for the bottom line according to the evidence — after when controlling for measures of ability.

        Yest 40% of graduates don’t find jobs as lawyers, and many who do find low-paying crappy jobs in law.

        You are just ignoring the reality of JD Advantage in favor of confirmation bias.

        Is the picture as rosy as NALP paints it? Probably not, but I definitely am not prepared to believe your anecdotes.

        There are people who love what it takes to be a lawyer. Then there are people who love what they think it takes to be a lawyer. The latter group has ONE PATH to their dream. Everyone else can live, eat, and breath the reality and prosper: but it’s a small group. The second group keeps swelling the ranks.


        August 28, 2015 at 3:16 PM

      • Swank,

        You do realize that ABA study meant nothing, right?


        August 28, 2015 at 9:52 PM

      • It’s called rainmaking and most smart people hate it which is why they shouldn’t be lawyers.


        August 28, 2015 at 9:53 PM

  17. Harper downplays what’s really the single most important statistic, namely the fact that law school enrollments have dropped by nearly 30% in just the past five years. It may not be enough to solve the problem but is a very good start.
    One thing to note about this enrollment drop is that it happened in the absence of any measures designed to address the problem. Congress did not restrict access to student loans and the ABA did not withdraw any accreditations. Prospective law students decided on their own to rethink their plans. Sounds like things are working just as they should.



    August 27, 2015 at 3:48 PM

    • Drop in enrollment is a “a good start” yes.

      Also, more smart college grads are not going to law school, and therefore a higher percentage of law grads are failing the bar. While this reflects poorly on law schools, at least it further stabilizes the entry-level job market for lawyers who are qualified.

      I’d still advise anyone I know not to go to law school, but as someone who graduated in the depths of the law school crisis, I think I’ll be okay if I keep working hard.

      Ava Lon

      August 27, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    • Just think of the retards they must be letting in! I heard that our state law school grads were failing in record numbers recently, but they blame the new multistate part that was added.

      Mrs Stitch

      August 27, 2015 at 10:36 PM

  18. Payscale has studied payback from professional diploma :

    Law schools come top of the list. Only one MBA (Stanford MBA, the most selective one, and IQ loaded, they have the highest GMAT, make it to the top 10). It seems normal because law school student have by bar highest IQ (average LSAT are much higher at law school thant average GMAT, if you compare only percentiles, notwithstanding that average law candidate must be smarter that average business candidate).

    But was is surprising, is that for the best grades, median mid-career salary is 180K. Certainly average must be highest, knowing that the average partner from top250 law fim make a profit (not revenue) before tax of 1500 K and that, following a study about partnership potential all top14 law school have a big chance to be recruted to top250 law firm, half of them are, but only 20% make it to partnership.

    I suppose that to be a physician, GP, or better, surgeon or in a high paid specialty (dermatology, ORL, ophtalmolody, radiology etc) is the best way to be very well paid without needing to be in the top 20% of the pool …

    Bruno from Paris, France.

    August 28, 2015 at 5:12 AM

    • What was true then is not true now.

      Look, does everyone not understand what is being discussed here? As Lion mentioned, 40% or more of law school grads cannot find jobs as lawyers or they get crappy law jobs that have no career potential, like document review.

      These are the entry-level jobs that are necessary to start a career as a lawyer. Do you not understand that when you graduate from law school and fail to get a job as an associate at a law firm, your career as a lawyer is effectively dead?

      The payscale data is simply not addressing this particular problem in the legal market.


      August 28, 2015 at 1:33 PM

    • To get into dermatology, opthalmology, and other high paying specialties you need to be in the top 20% of medical students.


      August 28, 2015 at 5:42 PM

      • They weed out lots of students by simply asking them to spell ophthalmology


        August 28, 2015 at 5:42 PM

  19. Then, as all our life experiences is governed by status, it’s crazy not to look for status given by the most valued universties, even if the selection process is not entirely meritocratic …. Then when you are older, is good to spite on it, because you can’t get it : “ces raisins sont trop verts et bons pour les goujats”.

    Bruno from Paris, France.

    August 28, 2015 at 5:15 AM

    • As long as Meriproles are hooked on the rat race, material-consumption worship, prestigious law schools and law firms will continue to bankroll these students, who will be doing their bidding. Of course, this seems solely to be an upper middle class striver, “White” phenomenon, thing, and it’s only in the United Prole Stan.

      I’m looking at the employment figures for NYU Law, and it appears, more and more students want to work for BIGLAW, up from the previous years, which signifies only one thing. The millennials are more money hungry than the previous generation, due to a lack of upward mobility in terms of money acquisition, via career choice. Perhaps the bubble doesn’t apply to the top law schools – BIGLAW complex.


      August 28, 2015 at 11:25 AM

    • My brother graduated from a top medical school and makes 300K+ a year. And his wife is barely average (although not totally unpleasant). Why not just cut out the middle man and move to a poor country and marry a peasant woman? Your status is already high just for being American (or French, or whatever) in 75% of the world.

      Shhh…. don’t tell anyone you can do this…. 🙂


      August 28, 2015 at 12:46 PM

  20. The Fox and the Grapes

    A certain Gascon Fox, a Norman one others say,
    Famished, saw on a trellis, up high to his chagrin,
    Grapes, clearly ripe that day,
    And all covered with purple skin.
    The rogue would have had a meal for the gods,
    But, having tried to reach them in vain,
    “They’re too green,” he said, “and just suitable for clods.”

    Didn’t he do better than to complain?

    Bruno from Paris, France.

    August 28, 2015 at 5:17 AM

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