Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Who Would Have Thunk It? Success at Last!

When I started this blog in September of 2009, I had no idea that the subject matter would go viral. I think it's safe to say it has.   Well, I might have had a bit of an idea, or more of a hope.  The intention was always to get the message out.  It seems as though we are successful.

My personal goal was and remains making the sorry state of being a lawyer common knowledge.  Rather than nods of approvals when I say I'm a lawyer, I won't rest until I get a more realistic reaction like "oh, you must work your ass off and have no life" or "how much did *that* cost?" or "the market's not so great for that, huh."  Or until I stop seeing stories like this, that tear me up inside.  Also, May is a very hard time for me because I feel the pain of 45,000 graduates looking into an empty future.  November is even worse, because that's when these kids have to start paying on their loans.  I take all of this to heart and it fuels me to keep BIDER going.

As our readers know, I went to law school when the Internet was not widely used.  When I decided to spill my guts on the blogosphere, my intention was to put information out there for those capable of critical thought.  I started blogging and around the same time other blogs like Third Tier Reality by Nando and Jobless Juris Doctor and others emerged.  We found each other--realizing we're not alone, we linked to each other and sought to grow as a movement.  Unfortunately, we lost some of our strongest bloggers along the way, like Big Debt, Small Law and Esq. Never.  But for the most part, we kept trucking--trying to get the message out.  I know we weren't the first lawyers ever to say that we're disappointed with our career choice, but we may have been among the first to do it so publicly.

Here's to your future!  
Unfortunately, there is and remains much shame with outing the law profession.  That's why I don't respond to innocent emails asking me which school I went to, or which big law firm I worked for in the hey day.  I don't intend on coming out of the closet like Kimber Russell from Shilling Me Softly.  Contrary to  what the critics say, not all of the scam bloggers are so down and out that our professional reputation is beyond salvation.  I have a decent reputation as an attorney, but the salary is not commensurate.

In the beginning, there were more than a few days when a mean comment would bother me for hours at a time. I even recall someone making me cry with their mean comment.  Do you guys remember Doug of "Just Another JD to be"?  I hated that bastard.  I hope he rots in TTTToilet Hell.  People loved to pipe in with the mantra "NO!  You didn't do everything right."  Geez, thanks.  It's just a name.  Today, I would do things differently--I admit.  But I doubt that would involve pursuing a law degree.

I feel slightly validated by the NY Times Article about the shitty legal market.  But, more than that, I feel like the message is finally out there and people have all the information they need, the most important bit of information being that the law schools DO NOT provide legitimate statistics when enticing you to apply with those glossy brochures and prize course selection.  Caveat Emptor?  Maybe.  But it shouldn't be that way when you're dealing with Educational Institutions entrusted with the future of our youth and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.


  1. This is a problem that only appears to be getting worse. What is most troubling is what this may mean for the economy at large. It is quite a shame to be in such a whole at such a young age. My blog addresses this topic frequently and also addresses the New York Times article (including a fictional parable at the beginning that I created) which I think puts the discussion in focus.

  2. This is a problem that only appears to be getting worse. What is most troubling is what this may mean for the economy at large. It is quite a shame to be in such a whole at such a young age. My blog addresses this topic frequently and also addresses the New York Times article (including a fictional parable at the beginning that I created) which I think puts the discussion in focus.
    Thanks for your hard work on your blog. I enjoyed reading your perspective as a fellow anonymous blogger.

  3. Angel,

    These "institutions of higher education" are also dependent on federally-backed student loans. They receive an avalanche of tax-exempt revenues. Apparently, the industry shills are no able to comprehend that.

    It has been great having you, HardKnocks, JJD (the future Mrs. TTR, in the unlikely event that I get divorced), and unperson on board for a while. I am glad with the new additions. I also miss some of the others who left the scene. L4L and I talked earlier and he is THRILLED with the press coverage.

    I remember when it was Skadden/L4L, unperson and myself. Back then, my blog was nothing, i.e. it was focused on Third Tier Drake. Then, you, JD Underdog, JJD and Esq. Never came along soon after. Now, it culminates in this NYT article. It has been worth every second! It has been worth the insults and personal attacks. (If you notice, I happen to deliver a sharper left hook than I receive from the shills.)

  4. Recently, a friend recommended to another friend who had recently graduated with an essentially worthless masters degree, that she should go to law school.

    The friend of the friend turned to me and said, "but isn't that a bad field to be in right now? I have a friend who graduated from [a much more highly ranked law school than yours truly attended] last year who is still looking for a job!"

    The sweet relief of the lone tear that sprung from my eye! It had been trapped for so long, yearning for freedom. It was as cooling as an unseasonable cold snap.

    And why did I rejoice?

    Because someone with no ties to the legal profession was able to actually analyze the situation and measure the futility of such an act.

    Granted, she has been burned by one worthless piece of paper, but its pretty amazing to me that even someone who was suckered into one pursuit didn't wake up one morning and think, "the *actual* problem is that I picked the wrong profession!"

    It only took once.

  5. It's about damn time everyone else started catching on to reality.

  6. Congratulations. BIDER is extremely valuable resource for the legal community - we are reaching a consensus in the legal community and those connected to the legal community - such as clients and other professionals - thanks to your work. Personally, I think BIDER is the best of these blogs, along with Shilling Me Softly. This is a great success in terms of quality of work. In my opinion, your journalism and opinion work is better than the New York Times - much better. The next step, which probably impossible, would be to reach the general public. Exhibit A that there is much more work to be done is the comments section to the repost of the NYT piece on Yahoo today. Check out those lawyer hating comments. The hate is one thing, but beyond that is the inaccuracy. Why is it OK for the general public to say hateful and inaccurate things about lawyers as a group? Would this be OK for other groups? Would it be OK to speak this way about a religious community? an ethnic community? I think that is the next challenge facing the legal community. But, my hat is off to BIDER and others for taking the first step toward reporting truthfully and analyzing the story with great insight.

  7. I hate law schools, law professors, US News & World Reports, Sallie Mae, student loans and the ABA. This is a crap profession to waste your valuable resources of time and money.

    Graduate of a top 20 law school, for what it is worth

  8. Angel, thanks for the shout out. I remember Doug, that pathetic loser and his silly stupid comments. Hope he is rotting in all of his TTT glory.

  9. This is all news to me. I'm 40 years old and in the process of completing my application to what is probably a "TTToilet." I live in a rural state with just the one school - moving my family isn’t an option my husband and I would consider. This week's Times article and the discovery of all of these blogs has me reconsidering my options. I already have a job that I love but I always thought I’d make a great lawyer and be able to do a lot of good with the degree. Are there no jobs for those willing and wanting to do public interest law? It seems hard to believe that there are too many lawyers in a country with so many undefended and under-served people. Is the problem that most students come out with huge student loans and can't afford to work in public interest law, like legal-aid, or is it that there aren't enough of those jobs either?

  10. You are a tremendous blessing. Truly, you've helped a lot more people in a lot more ways than you realize. Keep going!

  11. "...it shouldn't be that way when you're dealing with Educational Institutions entrusted with the future of our youth and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt."

    Again, this is why I almost have more respect for the for-profits. They make no bones about what they're doing, unlike major universities, who call their p & l an "endowment" and pretend that they're some kind of public servants rather than a straight-up business.

    Modern reality has shown that education is no less big business than Wal-Mart or Best Buy. It's a grave injustice that you can snag a 56 in. HDTV on credit, get the debt wiped out in bankruptcy court and keep the TV, but that someone who uses credit to get an education is burdened for life.

  12. Anonymous 8:28, you asked, "Why is it OK for the general public to say hateful and inaccurate things about lawyer as a group?" Nothing excuses saying hateful, inaccurate things about anybody, but saying accurate things about lawyers is entirely justified whether hateful or not. In 1999, the Chicago Tribune listed 381 cases of homicide convictions thrown out since 1961 after evidence surfaced that prosecutors had concealed or falsified evidence. The most troubling cases were the 67 cases where the defendant received a death sentence. The state Supreme Court said that such misconduct exposed the prosecutors not only to disbarment but criminal charges. So, how many of them actually were disbarred? Not a single one.

    It may be hateful, but it is not inaccurate, to say that lawyers' professional discipline is a joke. In my city, a lawyer named Lott Brooks requested five extensions and ignored twelve past due notices in filin a brief with the 14th Court of Appeals. He finally submitted an "Anders brief", basically an admission that he had no grounds for appeal, two years after the first appeal was due. He freely admits that he did this to keep his client, who had pled guilty to kidnapping and raping a child, out of prison on bond as long as possible. The appeals judges finally ordered Brooks arrested and sentenced him to two days in jail and a $500 fine in view of his abuse of the appeals process. What did the local or state bar do about Brooks abusing the appeals process to keep a convicted rapist of a child loose on the streets for two years? Nothing.

    It would be inaccurate to say that most lawyers falsify or conceal evidence to convict defendants of murder. It would also be inaccurate to say that most lawyers abuse the appeals process to keep convicted rapists from starting their sentences. But, to say that most lawyers protect other lawyers even when they commit outrageous misconduct, that's 100% accurate.

  13. I usually read the
    "Higher Education(University +)" section on Yahoo Answers, and when I get a question from an undergrad wanting to go to law school because they have a polysci/other degree, I link them to this site.

    I am glad for your success, and am starting to get my foot out in warning people about college in general, much like Marc Scheer who wrote "No Sucker Left Behind".

    I hope your career continues to take off and your warning sticks.

  14. I have an MFA. i thought you kids with the law degrees has it made. i will never again utter the phrase "i should have gone to law school."
    welcome to the struggle.

  15. Another blog I read, "Evil HR Lady", covered the ABA's article on this & I wrote in her comments for readers to see Nando's blog, yours & others if they wanted the real story on law school. I also said they shouldn't be patting the ABA's back too hard since they're hardly saints here.

  16. Bottom Line: Law schools do an unconscionably horrible job of training and preparing lawyers for the reality of practice.

    Legal "education" is based on a dated model which needs to be phased out.

  17. To you and the other scambloggers congrats. I agree that you've gotten the message out there. If i had known this back then (in the early 1990s), I MAY have made a different choice. We're responsible for our choices, but not when we're duped along the way.

    My DH (lawyer also) met with law students yesterday, and will meet with college students tomorrow. And he ALWAYS tells them the truth. What they do with that information is their business, but I feel its important that they know.

  18. To Anon at 1:06 pm:

    I read your post earlier today and just had to take some time out after coming home from work to answer you. I am a married mother of 2 and I was considerably younger than you (later 20s) when I entered law school, but I was also a married "mommy" with a baby at that point. I had a decent career going but wanted "more" and felt my potential was not being utilized. Long story short, my family moved across the country so I could attend a high T1 law school that I turned down numerous scholarships to go to (yes, a stupid thing to do, but so was going to law school at all). I can tell you it was the worst decision I ever made. Despite the high and holy promises from this top 10 toilet that my work experience and education I received as a wife & mom would be invaluable to my legal career, this just did not pan out. You say you want public interest law - I wanted a well-paying law job but neither of these options has ever panned out for me. Just after I graduated (even before the bottom fell out in '09), I sent out numerous resumes, including ones to public interest jobs, legal aid, even sh!tlaw, and got a grand total of a couple interviews. I was sure I could at least get a legal aid job paying $30K but this was not so. I turned in a respectable performance in law school and did a lot better than most people could, but I am now saddled with debt and the promise of a decent-paying job has faded as I can't break back into my old field. People with JDs who don't practice are looked at as nuts by the general population as they still believe all the stuff on TV that says all lawyers are rich and a law degree is as good as a license to print money. I promise this isn't true. I briefly practiced in solo law and met lots of smart people with tons of legal experience who went to good schools - all struggling for clients. I earned a grand total of $21K that year and my family nearly wound up on public assistance. This whole endeavor has nearly caused the breakup of my marriage as we are under extreme financial stress.

    Don't end up like me. If you have a job you love, try to move up in it. Maybe take a few classes in your current field that will help you learn some things and get ahead. Community colleges are good places to get practical, useful knowledge AND they're cheap. I promise you that mommies with kids like us are persona non grata in the legal world and at 40 - I'm sorry but you are, like the guy in the NYT article said, "washed up" in this field already. Even sh!itlaw employers want to know you can work 70 hours a week for $30K and that you won't have to be off with kids or have a husband who will mind the long hours. Believe me, I've been asked questions about my family status in interviews at crap firms. It's an indignity.

    At this point, I would not pay $.50 for a law degree from my top 10 toilet and ESPECIALLY not from a TTT. I wouldn't even entertain the possibility of carrying through with your plans unless you had planned to quit working anyway (as chances are you will never work in any decent job again if you do go to law school), if your husband makes enough to support your family without your income, AND if you got a full ride scholarship to your TTT and won't have to borrow for living expenses. Even if all those criteria were met, I'd still find something else to study at least. Good luck to you and if I were you, I'd find something much more worthwhile to do with my life. Going to law school will only end in disaster.

  19. P.S. As to what I'm doing now...I'm re-building my life from the ground up after the law school disaster. I finally landed a job that has benefits and doesn't pay great but has room for advancement. It isn't related to law in the least but I work with great people. My husband and I are in family counseling to work out our difficulties. Again, don't take the path I did and good luck to everyone reading this.

  20. 5:38 here - crap! My 1st post wasn't published, but it was to anon at 1:06 today. long story short, as a married mom, you're washed up already and are persona non grata in law. I know because I've been there despite lies from my top 10 toilet. Don't be like me and go to law school. Try to advance in your current field instead as you say you love your job. My family has nearly been destroyed by my horrible to decision to attend law school and I'm only now rebuilding my life 5 years out. Good luck to you in finding something truly worthwhile (not law) to do with your life.

  21. i have a slightly different opinion on this. i finished a 3rd-tier law school, attending part-time in the evenings. i worked during the day and i have managed to pay cash for my studies as i went along, and am graduating with no debt. having no debt has given me much more options re. employment. for example, i am able to do a judicial internship (no pay), because i don't have student loans to worry about, which will undoubtedly help in the long run. i have no regrets about going to law school, but i think you need to be VERY CAREFUL when you BORROW money to go to school. many people believe in the 'DEGREE FAIRY' as much as they believe in santa claus, and that she will come down from the skies once we have our degree and make everything all right. i'd even argue that 'these days', a new mantra is needed: IF YOU CAN'T PAY FOR IT IN CASH, THEN YOU CAN'T AFFORD IT! maybe that's a bit extreme, but if you aren't making the money to at least start to pay for your education (how about one year's tuition put away?), why do you think you will make it when you finish? the easy jobs are gone. now, only those who WORK will make it. and for those who don't know the difference between A JOB and WORK, should struggle in the labor force for a while to understand. no more hand-outs folks, it's time to work again.

  22. I agree with 6:42 (anon) - It's time to work and NOT graduate with that type of debt - I did it in the late 90's. In fact 'law' was my back-up plan and it's how I pay my bills. But as Angel said "do your research" - frankly -my eyes were wide open when I went to law school - I'd worked in the biglaw - knew what it took and took a different road with immigration law. I like my job - not as much as writing, which was my 'dream' but you have to pay the bills. I graduated late - 32 - without much debt because I worked the whole time and went to law school part time.

    But it's important to be passionate about what you do... my point in all this? That the grass is always greener and it's important to see all sides. Until I got a law degree I was doing dead-end jobs with no future, and the degree opened doors for me - allowed me to use my brain. When I saw someone comment that they wanted to be a 'professional writer' - I was like o.k. but books are a dime a dozen, no one wants to publish you, you get paid nothing and you have to work alone and long hours - LOL - sounds allot like what everyone is complaining about law school. Anyway - I actually don't give people 'doomesday' scenarios when they decide to go to law school, because it really has been one of the better decisions in my life. I'm very fortunate to be in a job I like, with people I like to work with - this has been obvious from reading all these comments.

  23. 6:42 and 10:14 are fortunate that going to law school had worked out for them. However the problem is that the landscape in this field has changed significantly since the 1990's. My profession, Paralegal, has also changed significantly since the late 90's when I started out. While I don't have any regrets sticking to my guns in staying in the legal profession as a non-lawyer (I actually like what I do and have been fortunate to have worked with some really great people), it took me two very long years to find another job when I was downsized from my in-house position in late 2008. There are not that many jobs out there in the legal profession, especially for new graduates. However, the economy is not preventing schools in continuing to accept a massive number of student enrollment applications.

    If people are going to take on debt in attending law school (or any school for that matter), people need to have all the facts first before they enroll. The problem is that these bloggers were the only people out there saying, "No, wait a minute, think before you take out that loan." There really is also no excuse for schools to charge such exorbitant tuition. It has gotten to the point that as long as anyone has money to attend school, there is a school out there for anyone. This should not be the case. I don't think the answer in this country to give everyone a Bachelors degree and expect people if they want to further their careers, to run back to school and take on more debt for a JD, MBA, etc. People are literally forced to price themselves out when they look for jobs now.

  24. Congrats to all the scamlaw bloggers. There's already a reply to the NYT article from Vault, basically saying that it's the fault of the students who did not research properly before going to Law School, but I wonder, how could they properly researched if the data is to say the least ''massaged'' (in the word of one Dean quoted in the NYT's article)


  25. Honestly, this NYT article opened my eyes..and then I found Third Tier Reality, and then this site. My sister is exactly like everyone else on this site, and I can't believe I ever thought that maybe she just wasn't trying hard enough to find a job. Overqualified and unemployed is a tough place to be, and I can only hope that it just gets better soon. I hope my MBA school hasn't "massaged" any data, so that my investment will be worth it. Thanks--

  26. Entrepreneurship is a good alternative. Eventhough you have degree from law, you don't have to do traditional legal work. There are many alternatives.


  27. Great blog, except for this "turf grab" - trying (along with another blogger) to set out some kind of official "history" of who started scam-blogging first, doubtless to affirm yourself as being among the most senior bloggers and thus an authority on the subject. And no doubt motivated by the NYT's failure to ask for your opinions for the article.

    Again, I read this blog regularly, and I value the information in here. But don't forget why you started this blog. It wasn't to get famous or become some kind of renowned authority on law school scams; it was to get the word out to other potential law students.

    Don't lose your soul now that the important journalists are knocking on the door.

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. I actually don't do interviews. I did in the beginning, but haven't for over 6 months. I decided recently that I will not do it--even if asked. So, there's no fame grab here. I'm not going to lose my soul. So, if you don't mind, I off to do another substantive post on the state of the legal world today.

  30. "Great blog, except for this "turf grab" - trying (along with another blogger) to set out some kind of official "history" of who started scam-blogging first, doubtless to affirm yourself as being among the most senior bloggers and thus an authority on the subject."

    @ 8:30 pm,

    I was simply paying homage to some of the predecessors and early scambloggers. If that annoys you, I don't really care. Those who came first deserve a little recognition. This is a movement, and as all movements it had its origins. I left out "State of Beasley," a post on "Calico Cat" and JD Jive/JDU, and of course Tom the Temp. Thanks for reminding me.

    I was pleasantly surprised the NYT quoted an anonymous blogger. What does that tell you about credibility?

  31. Angel, you and the others have done a GREAT job telling it like it is. THANK YOU guys for getting the truth out. I know you've spared a lot of people from the harsh realities of the legal profession. Keep on truckin , cause all this blogging will eventually get the schools to stop the fraudulent figures in attracting students. More or more realistic disclosure will happen...



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