Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Confusing Pessimism with Reality

Some accuse Angel and me of being pessimistic for writing likely outcomes rather than sugar coat the facts and promise that everything will turn out okay in a year. We don't pull these doom and gloom scenarios from a magic hat. The hiring statistics and unemployment numbers are out there for anyone who wants to find them. They all point to our country being in more of a depression rather than in a recession. The suffering that millions of Americans are going through will likely last for a very long time, perhaps for a decade or longer. My feeling is that there will be another economic collapse within the next decade due to poor governing decisions and trillions in stimulus funds going to the financial industry rather than to job creation and stimulus projects that would benefit the average citizen. Our generation probably won't see employment recover to late 1990s levels in our lifetimes. Don't confuse a slight improvement as the end of all our country's woes. Those with an agenda will pull out the "Mission Accomplished" sign as soon as the unemployment rate improves by a few percentages (without taking into account the millions who are underemployed or have given up looking for a job altogether) rather than put into action the only solution that will get us back on track, which is to reform the entire infrastructure of our society as well as the financial system and punish the banksters and corporations who got us into this mess rather than fund their operations with our tax dollars. Oh, yeah, and that little Supreme Court decision that will allow unlimited corporate money to elect politicians who will work in their interests rather than ours won't help us recover in the near future either.

People who continue to hold onto high paying jobs with very little chance of being laid off, are independently wealthy, or are unemployed but have wealthy parents financing their big city apartment and trips around the world will remain hopeful and optimistic because they can afford to feel that way. Some will berate and place blame on those who don't have the fortune of living in this world with rose colored glasses, like the people who have been unemployed for two years or the single mother raising a child on $3,000 a year. The political ruling class (and by that I mean both the Republicans and Democrats who work in Washington), for the sake of being reelected or simply because they are so disconnected from the millions who suffer and live in poverty, will call what we're experiencing a recession to calm real and justified fears that millions could be out of a job for years to come. It's already clear to anyone with even an elementary knowledge of economics (that would be me) that the stimulus was not enough to create job growth nor was it directed at projects that could have assisted more Americans to get back to work.

I am not compensated by any special interests for contributing to this blog. A lot of what you will read here could be difficult to swallow. Some of it will be our opinions but I write based on the data and stories I read in the news, blogs, or what I hear from neighbors, friends, and classmates struggling to pay their bills and student loans. Angel writes more about the legal market because she knows about that much more than I do and a lot of the spin I read in legal outlets don't interest me. I'm no longer a part of that world and doubt that I'll ever return. I like to look at the big picture and the problems in the legal industry which stem from larger problems with the nation's financial and educational system. I do know that the legal market, like the rest of the economy, will not recover in the near future. L4L of Big Debt, Small Law, one of the few truthtellers to report on the legal industry, has written about the problems with the legal market that were occurring long before the economic collapse. Like the housing bubble and the poor financial decisions made for years by banksters to line their pockets at the expense of millions of Americans, the failings and the subsequent fallout in the legal industry and its educational system were clear for anyone who wanted to see them.

The only reason why there is more attention to those failings and discussions for reform now is that those at the top of the heap are suffering too. As I commented on Angel's last post, as with our political system it is unlikely that we will see real reform and change from those in the legal ruling class. The law partners and deans who have benefited from this archaic and ineffective system will keep things the same even if it means those below them are laid off or graduates continue to leave law school with $200k debt and no job offers. The only good thing that can come of this is that TTT law schools might be forced to close down if there is a significant drop in law school applications. Biglaw will hire a little over half of the people out of the T14 schools and a few lucky ones from the rest. The legal industry will shrink significantly, as it should, over the next several decades. Most of the lowly jobs that were taken by grads outside of the T14 will eventually be outsourced. Recent graduates who did not get a job offer and laid off attorneys will, for the most part, never have a chance at the lucrative legal jobs and will be forced to start a new career or remain in the legal industry as temp workers. There will be very few opportunities in the legal market and it will remain that way for most of our working lives.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. To anonymous above (2:43 AM), your argument seems to boil down to "you don't deserve's not fair sweetheart" followed by "Oh, right, you were just trying to better yourself and get ahead... you are a disgusting hypocrite of the highest order".

    How is your 'point' relative to the article? The article is talking about macroeconomic issues. It seems you believe that it is hypocritical to want the best for yourself while attacking those who have "made it" and are at the top. Let's ignore the assumptions you have made because there are way too many of them.

    In my understanding the author(s) of this blog seem much more upset with the way the people on the top have run this country into the ground. The authors don't write primarily because they are jealous of the "banksters" and "legal elite's" big mansions, yachts and nice cars.

    There is nothing hypocritical about wanting the best for yourself or even wanting to be wealthy while attacking the people who have run this country into the ground. The problem is not that there are people are the top (there always will be), the problem is that the people at the top have screwed this country up in a permanent way that many people don't want to face.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to be successful. There is something wrong (and I believe the author of this blog would agree) with trying to make money by exploiting people, destroying the nations infrastructure, and ruining the future for millions of Americans. Do you understand? Would you prefer if I drew an illustration?

    "Life's not fair sweetheart"? Seriously, you don't sound arrogant, you sound like f^&$king moron. I am so sick of you type A personalities jumping on every opportunity to criticize someone else. Find some other way to feel good about yourself. You're a bad person.

  3. Richard Matasar: Dean of New York Law School and Chairman of Access Group student loan company AT THE SAME TIME.

    Conflict of interest? Not according to Matasar.

    Email him and ask him yourself:

  4. What's wrong with you guys who hate TTT schools? Just gather a dozen of yourselves and start picketing the New York Law School every day until they help you get a job. Quit whining on blogs. Take to the streets! The media will love it!

  5. I would actually be so happy if people started picketing law schools because that is what needs to happen to call attention to the scam. I wish all Americans would take to the streets and demand change. Our founding fathers would agree that we need a little revolution to keep society on track.

  6. Angel and I did not attend a third tier law school but I'd be happy to protest alongside the NYLS graduates who are unemployed if it can create media attention and create some changes.

  7. I've posted on other blogs and here, too, maybe, about how this is a result of the gov't willingness to subsize crappy law schools through quasi-gov't entities like Sallie Mae. If BLS was lending out its own money, tuition would be a lot cheaper at that school.

    I work for a buy-side investment manager and we have an army of economists on both sides of the political spectrum. All of them agree that the stimulus was not designed to help job production or it would be paying out over seven years. The original stimulus was never for "shovel ready" projects, and that assumes that such projects help the economy anyway. The current administration is heavily supported by public service unions - the SEIU - and if the one-third of the stimulus didn't go to state governments, there would have been dramatic layoffs of state employees. It wasn't designed to help you, though.

  8. "Just gather a dozen of yourselves and start picketing the New York Law School every day until they help you get a job."

    Is there really a job for NYLS to help you to get?

  9. Industry apologists try to marginalize us by calling us "pessimists." (It saves them the trouble of debating us on the issues at hand. I suppose those Ivy League JDs don't provide these guys with the skills necessary to debate us in a public forum.)

    I simply look at the work world, and see that we are in trouble as a nation. Outsourcing and off-shoring is done SOLELY for the benefit of a few. (The ABA doesn't really care about providing more opportunities for foreign lawyers. They just want to make some more money for their corporate and Biglaw masters.)

    It is better to go through life with a trained eye, than discover at age 40 or so that the world is run by greedy men (and a few women). The job market will not get better - not with the following in place: (a) companies relying on unpaid interns to do much of their work; (b) people so desperate that they actually PAY private firms to place them in unpaid internships, i.e. University of Dreams; (c) outsourcing of jobs; (d) rampant off-shoring of blue and white-collar work; (e) apathy on the part of Americans - they keep re-electing the same pieces of filth that put us in our present situation; (f) Americans working harder and longer hours for less - in the way of pay, job security or benefits; and (g) companies and government agencies will see that they got by with less workers.

    Now, what makes a reasonable person think that companies, law firms, and admin agencies will suddenly hire a bunch of highly-educated, American professionals when things improve?!?!

    Or would you rather listen to Joel Osteen and other charlatans who are selling undaunted optimism?

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  11. Let's pick a day to picket a TTT law school. Then we'll meet with picket signs. If you get a dozen people, the press will come in droves.

  12. Anon @ 9:33pm: I would love to see that happen but I think law students today aren't as devoted to activism as they were during the 60s and 70s. From my law school experience, a lot of them seemed scared to stand up for any important cause because they were so intimidated by what law firms could find online. I was surprised that most law students avoided any controversial issues. That could possibly change since there aren't any jobs to worry about losing for unemployed graduates.

  13. I would be willing to picket and I didn't go to law school. I just hate the whole higher education scam.



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