Lion of the Blogosphere

A guy screwed because he went to Valparaiso Law School

New York Times article about a poor schmuck who is $200,000 in debt for a law degree from Valparaiso Law School.

As a blogger, it’s important for me to spread the lessons learned so others don’t make his mistake. The admissions offices at crappy overpriced law schools like Valparaiso are surely not advising applicants of these truths.

1. Law school is not worth $200,000 unless it’s a Top 14 law school, and even Top 14 law schools aren’t the guaranteed ticket to Big Law that they used to be in the good times.

2. Private law schools are especially crappy deals. If he couldn’t get into the local state school, he had no business paying more money to attend a private law school. A law school like Valparaiso shouldn’t even exist. But even some state schools charge jacked up prices making them almost as crappy of a deal. And even a low in-state tuition doesn’t necessarily make law school worthwhile: there are opportunity costs and you can still rack up quite a bit of debt paying for living expenses for three years.

3. No one wants to hire a new 39-year-old lawyer. If you’re 30 or older, it’s too late to go to law school and then get a job as a lawyer.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

June 18, 2016 at 9:36 AM

Posted in Education, Law

48 Responses

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  1. Agree 100%. At least my crappy worthless JD was from a state school when it was pretty cheap tuition.

    Mrs Stitch

    June 18, 2016 at 9:58 AM

  2. Love the whining from the Valparaiso profs who are being forced out of their cushy jobs producing bullshit “legal scholarship”. They didn’t give a damn about all their students who couldn’t get jobs, so why should anyone care about them?

    Also bemused by the moron who went to the shitty law school, can’t pass the bar exam, and works in a clothing store, but still wants to be a lawyer to fight racism. But hey she would still do the same thing all over again, so long as she didn’t have to pay for it!


    June 18, 2016 at 10:39 AM

    • It’s time to boot the college presidents like John Sexton of NYU, who take money from the school paid by students, and then package them as interest free loans, so tenured professors can buy vacation homes with them. Furthermore, to use the school’s high end dormitories, for personal residences of extended family members is worse than nepotism.

      Again, where’s the outrage from the students and their parents?. There isn’t any, because the average American lives for the moment of fun and pleasure. Most American universities in the undergraduate level aren’t places of learning, just day care centers for overgrown children.


      June 18, 2016 at 1:35 PM

  3. Sounds like some good news. There is less demand for lawyers. That’s a basic good. Law Schools are having to cut back. That’s a basic good.

    As long as there isn’t any taxpayer funded bailout, this good news could spread to the rest of the featherbedded, pampered and overstaffed Higher Education sector.

    Kit Ingoldby

    June 18, 2016 at 10:58 AM

    • There is a less demand for all White collar positions.


      June 21, 2016 at 7:54 PM

  4. Law school admissions and spree shootings are two of the best-covered topics on this blog. As I’ve commented before, I think Lion should find a few areas of law to dabble in since is licensed. There are many things you could do with minimal experience: wills, contracts, small claims collections, traffic defense, landlord/tenant issues, and of course some criminal defense. You would excel at picking a jury and trying a case.

    Ava Lin

    June 18, 2016 at 11:16 AM

    • If you really believe that anyone can make money doing those things, why don’t you try it yourself and report back to us? How much would you expend in costs in order to collect a small claims judgment? LOL. Oh, and don’t trip that you have no law degree. Just fake it – it’s unlikely you’ll be nabbed and even if you are it’s a slap on the hand after you splain you’re just trying to help people.

      There’s a famous story from about 1980 in Bakersfield. A veteran judge was hearing arguments, and thought one guy was so incompetent that he asked to see his bar card. So sure enough, the idiot was a lawyer. The judge wanted to appear evenhanded, so he asked the other guy to show his card, too. Turned out he didn’t have one – faking it all the way. The judge told the L.A. Times “I was sorry to have to turn him in, he was doing a real good job for his client.”


      June 18, 2016 at 12:06 PM

      • Great anecdote.


        June 19, 2016 at 2:31 PM

      • LOL…yeah, law is all about sales, ultimately…if you cannot sell yourself, you cannot stay in the profession…yeah, a good law school degree will happen you get your foot in the door, but in the end, eventually, it is all about whether you can sell yourself…and as for making a living with the scraps and leavings as the poster above suggested, one big problem with that is the LIABILITY you incur, even as your income is low…you expose yourself to being sued for big buck even while you scrap by with little bucks…


        June 19, 2016 at 2:51 PM

      • Response to Marty:

        1) I suggested Lion, not “anyone” try these practice areas. The areas suggested are things a smart person with a law license pursuing law as a second career could do; For example, you can collect on a debt for a business with a letter and a phone call.

        2) My suggestion was more as a way to do domething interesting and possibly generate material for his blog; I didn’t mention money. What’s more interesting than a criminal trial? Many of his blog posts are in-depth analyses of crimes anyway. Does he make money blogging?

        Ava Lon

        June 19, 2016 at 8:22 PM

      • Criminal trials are pretty interesting. And you’re legally allowed to watch them for free at the courthouse.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        June 19, 2016 at 9:05 PM

      • No, they’re not. Most crime are committed by low IQ individuals. 99% of criminals aren’t Enron or Bernie Madoff.


        June 22, 2016 at 7:42 AM

  5. With the federal loans now you have income based repayment, with the balance being forgiven after 20 or 25 years. Only have to pay income tax on the forgiven amount. Not a bad deal really.

    Sagi Is My Guru

    June 18, 2016 at 11:24 AM

  6. Small private colleges and universities that aren’t prestigious, luxurious, or very religious won’t be around much longer. Those three categories at least have distinctive selling points to prospective students. There’s no reason why an average middle class college bound student should be choosing to go to a small private school for mega bucks instead of a lower tier instate public university. We’re seeing the bubble pop first in law because it’s a transforming industry that’s even more ludicrously expensive than undergrad.


    June 18, 2016 at 11:51 AM

    • I think probably small non-elite privates will be around as long as there are rich people who need to send their drug addicted/mildly autistic kids somewhere.

      Sagi Is My Guru

      June 18, 2016 at 1:18 PM

      • I know of a few private colleges in Florida that specialize in those “special” cases. There are always going to be schools for the untalented children of the wealthy. Ole Miss is well known in the South for accepting students who couldn’t get into their home state’s flagship school, but want to go somewhere more affluent and well known than a local directional state university or former normal school.


        June 18, 2016 at 7:21 PM

    • Side tracking your comment, you should check this out. Pre-Socratics, the Attic Philosophers, Stoics and the Neoplationists all have their Arabic equivalents:

      Click to access dmp.pdf

      Zainun is the Arabic world for Zeno of Proleum.

      Another Muslim theme, but without the Islamophobia!


      June 18, 2016 at 1:42 PM

    • One more category needed. Someone has to educate the chinese.


      June 18, 2016 at 6:42 PM

    • What will these luxurious/prestigious schools be offering, that is useful or even of interest to SWPL types? It seems like the upper classes in America don’t really care for a well rounded education, unless it leads to a prestigious, high paying career.


      June 18, 2016 at 9:50 PM

      • If we’re talking about the untalented children of the wealthy looking for luxury, you have to consider that most of those students don’t really care about learning in college. Their concerns are less academic and more social. 4 years of parties, warm weather, and cocaine are more in line with their thinking. Prestigious small colleges (like those in the NESCAC) offer reputation, a pathway to better graduate schools, and alumni connections. I would argue that SWPL types at the more prestigious schools also tend to care more about learning than the average college student and that as the general prestige of a college increases, then the more likely it is students are studying the liberal arts as opposed to vocational fields like business and nursing. Prestigious technical schools are obviously the exception, but if you were to compare the majors of the student body at the University of Southern California with Cal State Los Angeles or Duke and Eastern Carolina University, I would assume that there is a very big difference in students’ majors.


        June 19, 2016 at 12:11 AM

  7. Something I gleaned from the article: one can go to a crappy 3rd of 4th tier law school, rack up $200,000 in debt and if one is lucky one can get a crappy lawyer job paying about $40 – $70K, or one could study for 6 months, spend between 5k-10k and become a paralegal and get a crappy quasi lawyer job that pays $40-$70k. But the paralegal has a better life. He works 9-5, and he doesn’t have to take too much shit from a partner or supervisor, he can just walk away and get another paralegal job. The lawyering business has come to realize that paralegals can do a lot of the work of a lawyer for a fraction of the price, so demand will likely increase for paralegals while it decreases for lawyers.


    June 18, 2016 at 4:10 PM

    • Except that the market for paralegals has also dried up. The paralegal certificate is more likely than not to be a complete waste.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      June 18, 2016 at 5:47 PM

      • Who is doing all the grunt legal work then? Has it been outsourced to India? It if that is the case, then that it is good news. The more middle class people screwed over by the current regime, and their globalist aspirations, the more likely we can realize fundamental regime change.


        June 18, 2016 at 6:39 PM

  8. Please explain the difference in objectives of a for profit vs. private school. Both are up to their ears in fed loan programs and or research and therefore are beholden. Why pick on for profits when student outcomes are similar?


    June 18, 2016 at 4:38 PM

  9. I blame exceptionalist thinking for people like this guy. I run into them all the time. There are only four jobs for every 10 new lawyers from crappy schools? I’m the guy who’ll get one of them or so the thinking goes. Plus, few lawyers respect the intellectual abilities of cops and are unlikely to view their experience as all that useful.


    June 18, 2016 at 4:54 PM

  10. In 1987, I dropped out of the JD night program at third-tier New England School of Law. It was less than $10K per year in the night program back then.

    E. Rekshun

    June 18, 2016 at 7:35 PM

  11. Still, the few times I’ve needed a lawyer, I could barely find one that would return a phone call. Any lawyer that I could reach wanted $5K retainer and $300 per hour, seemed to be very busy, and made me feel like they were doing me a favor to take my business.

    E. Rekshun

    June 18, 2016 at 7:44 PM

    • I and many impoverished lawyers in houston would have loved to have had a call from you…unfortunately, my phone never rang, and so I got out of the field.


      June 19, 2016 at 2:53 PM

      • What did you end up doing? Was your law degree helpful, unnecessary, or a detriment in your new field?

        E. Rekshun

        June 19, 2016 at 8:26 PM

  12. ‘3.No one wants to hire a new 39-year-old lawyer. If you’re 30 or older, it’s too late to go to law school and then get a job as a lawyer.’

    1. Who wants to hire a 39-year-old anything with no experience? In your opinion, that is.

    2. The article featured a perfect loser school attended by a perfect bunch of losers. They can’t pass a bar exam and whose fault is this? We are supposed to feel sorry for them now or something? It’s a stupid paper, I keep telling you.

    3. My cousin, as I had told you before, graduated law school at 40, got a job, and went into private practice. She is an award winning attorney today. I, in my own little way, started in the trade at 48. There is nothing to stop a person from being successful. Not even robots, which aren’t around anyway. In my opinion, that is.


    June 18, 2016 at 9:51 PM

    • Agreed. Something very fishy about this sort of journalism. Rhodes Scholar Noam Scheiber visits America’s worst law school and reports that it is difficult for “law school graduates” to get jobs. Next we will have an article on the difficulties faced by “the homeless” in trying to purchase homes. The larger message seems to be “In America, if you are a prole, and an idiot, you are f$%^&$.”

      It is a valid point, but to whose benefit? The irony is that idiots do not read the NYT, so that its readers have neither heard of “Valparasio Law School” nor ever considered applying.

      I think it would have been far more useful to focus on a non Harvard, Yale, Stanford school like Cornell or Chicago and charted recent career paths there.

      The Shepherd

      June 19, 2016 at 8:36 AM

      • If you are a prole and you work hard in America, the sky is the limit. I know a locksmith who cuts new doors perfectly. The guy charges a $1,000 to cut a $10,000 door and there is a waiting list. Two of his sons are MDs and I’m not sure who is better off financially. Of course the guy is Jewish and I understand that an Eritrean may not be able to do it, but this blog has tons of Jews and Jews have no right to whine. Jews are optimistic, energetic go getters. America is a perfect country for Jews. This blog is very odd. I mean, if you are a Jew you’ve got everything going for you. There is nothing better than being a Jew. Imagine being a Huron? Brrr…. no way! I think any Jew that complains about lack of opportunity in America is a mutant or isn’t a real Jew.


        June 19, 2016 at 8:13 PM

  13. Lion, I’m an old fart but found this chilling 2009 data/comments on Valparaiso in 17 seconds on GOOGLE…

    Apparently, the legal-whiz student in the NYT article hasn’t discovered GOOGLE yet.


    June 19, 2016 at 3:00 AM

  14. 3. No one wants to hire a new 39-year-old lawyer. If you’re 30 or older, it’s too late to go to law school and then get a job as a lawyer.

    I tend to agree with this. There are a lot of things with an informal age limit. Not that one can’t do it. But it’s different.


    June 19, 2016 at 8:04 AM

    • Nothing is different if you have what it takes. My best all time IT hire was an entry level 39 year old homosexual actor who got too old to play young boys. The guy was a perfect fit for the job and went very far in the field. His age didn’t make any difference to anyone. At that time entry level salary was $38,000, but he wouldn’t accept anything less than $45,000. I felt he was worth it and I got it for him. There is so much un-American loser mentality on this blog. Guys, just read Jack London or dozens of great writers that have the true American spirit and throw away the stupid paper already.


      June 19, 2016 at 7:25 PM

  15. This guy grew up in Georgia and had 11 years of law enforcement experience there. If he REALLY wanted to be a lawyer he should have stayed in Georgia, gone to the best LS he could there and looked for work at local offices in Georgia. Moving to Indiana was a mistake.

    Jose Habib

    June 19, 2016 at 8:44 AM

    • I agree. I suspect that he didn’t get accepted at any GA law school.

      E. Rekshun

      June 19, 2016 at 2:01 PM

  16. My time trapped in the straight commission life insurance pyramid scam has given me a better understanding of how these people got suckered into law school. Unless they’re insanely naive, almost everyone who goes into life insurance has heard that it’s a brutally competitive field with an extremely high failure rate. And almost everyone thinks that they’ll be among the very very few who will succeed. Human nature works that way.
    And so it is with these mediocre law schools. Prospective students certainly have heard about declining opportunities, but they all think they’ll thrive.



    June 19, 2016 at 9:48 AM

    • Here’s an ad for a Valparaiso equivalent. Note the do what you love meme. Worst advice ever.


      June 19, 2016 at 5:03 PM

      • Curle

        June 19, 2016 at 9:08 PM

      • It’s the best meme, but with a clarification – ‘within the realm of your ability’. This is pretty obvious. For example, no matter how much you love sumo or opera there is no way for you to make it unless you’ve got the ability. Everything in life is this way – within the framework of your ability. This is why so many of you guys are sexualy frustrated, because you aim too high, way above your real level. You are like a peasant dreaming of a princess. Everyone can find a mate, but you got to look on your level. This is very basic wisdom, I don’t know why I’m even writing this.


        June 20, 2016 at 9:43 PM

  17. When I was going to college back in the late sixties at Berkeley, law school was where the graduate went who did not know what he wanted to do with his life.


    June 19, 2016 at 2:07 PM

    • I think this is still true for most law school applicants. Also, I think, historically, and to a large extent today, many people thought that the law is prestigious and that lawyers make a lot of money. I’ve found that many reasonably smart college grads pursue law school because they want the prestige and (imagined) income of being a lawyer, and they don’t want the 4+ year grind of medical school. So, it’s either lawyer or doctor, and lawyer is the easier route.

      E. Rekshun

      June 19, 2016 at 8:33 PM

      • It’s a 7+ year grind of medical school and residency. There are almost no jobs for people who earn M.D.’s but don’t continue with residency. I recall your physician-trained relative who got a job in the HMO industry, and I’m not even sure that he’s an exception in that I doubt he would have gotten that job without the clinical experience gained in residency and attending practice.


        June 19, 2016 at 10:02 PM

      • In the USSR people studied medicine because that was what they loved, not for money. I think this is the right way, within reason, to approach your occupation. Studying medicine for money is rotten. These are butchers, not doctors.


        June 20, 2016 at 12:16 AM

    • Plus they couldn’t do math.


      June 21, 2016 at 2:16 PM

  18. Interesting article. Makes you wonder about how bright these people really are. Certainly they’re naive.

    According to this website, only 62% of Valpo graduates pass the bar. The employment rate for graduates is 69%, but that includes those with ANY job, such as working at Starbuck’s. Overall ranking is #183. Wow!

    I have a friend whose daughter wanted to be a lawyer, so he got her a summer internship at a prestigious Washington law firm. She hated it – the associates with whom she worked put in long hours on excruciatingly boring stuff. Few had any hopes of being made partner. So she decided to switch to history and become a professor. Her father suggested she talk to some history grad students to find out what the job market was like. She nixed that idea. So she became a veterinarian and has a good job now and is very happy. She attended a state school, and her Daddy paid most of the freight (he refused to pay for law school), so no long-term debt. I think she made a good choice.

    Black Death

    June 20, 2016 at 5:15 AM

  19. This is partially the result in people being taught their entire life that they are special and that they can accomplish anything they put their mind to. Plenty of people have the intellectually ability to graduate from college, get accepted to and pass law school classes, but actually passing a state bar exam is more difficult intellectually. That’s to say nothing of the ability to attract clients and to be successful in an industry that (often) requires the ability to make other people like them or at least respect them. This quote say it all: “I wouldn’t trade my law degree for anything” – from a twice failed bar exam taker from a poor working class family working retail. She won’t even admit the mistake! Is that what she tell people who ask if they should go to law school?


    June 20, 2016 at 3:01 PM

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