Monday, October 25, 2010

BC Non-Grad Gets Flack Over at The Consumerist

Thanks for the tip, Jerry.  The comments on this article made me sick to my stomach.
Here's a few to turn your stomach:

A college degree grants you the opportunity to obtain careers beyond what the degree is for.
The guy hasn't even tried yet, and he doesn't actually have a degree.
If after 2 years he can't get a law job, THEN he can whine about it.

This is someone who didn't do his research before law school. With such poor research skills, it is no wonder he can't find a job!

It is obvious why he has no job prospects. The guy failed in what he actually contracted with the school to do. The school agreed to allow him to attend classes and gain knowledge in exchange for money. Nobody forced him to take out loans, get his degree in law, or anything else. They also never promised him a job, or a salary upon graduation.
Grow a set and be a man. This is just an idiot looking to garner attention and probably some money along the way., If I were BC, I would have said, we do not agree to the terms of your offer. Good bye.

Yeah, what a real tempting offer... skip out on paying for 2 1/2 years of education in return for not using the last half-year. *sarcasm*

Boo freaking hoo. No college guarantees you a good job upon graduation, no matter your degree. And they CERTAINLY don't promise your career will be fulfilling.

Here's some free career advice from me to college students everywhere: Your career is YOUR responsibility. It's not your college's, it's not your boss's or employer's (once you have a job), it's not the career center's, it's not the government's.

Yes, you can get help from all of those sources, but in the end it's YOUR responsibility to find a job you want.

I'd love to be able to use his reasoning every time a product or service didn't fulfill my expectations. What did he think was going to happen? That he would just be able to rack up a couple hundred grand in student loans and then magically there would be a job paying seven figures waiting for him when he got out and he would be able to pay it all back? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! yeah, not likely. I know more starving lawyers than starving artists. People seem to forget that the reason doctors and lawyers charge so much is because they have MASSIVE amounts of debt and insurance to pay for. They typically don't make that much money. Sure there are a few who finally make it, but I'd love to see the statistics for the lawyers who wind up getting $40K jobs as paralegals because they can't afford to be a lawyer and they are being crushed by student loan debt.


My conclusion upon reading this is clear to everyone who "knows" me.  You know that I'm mad.  He made a real attempt to cure his woes--the only way to do it actually-- and he was shut down hard by these asshole commentators.  Unfortunately, consumer debt and even gambling debt can be forgiven at the drop of a hat, and those that try to better themselves are punished for life.  What is wrong with this country?  They act like everyone is stuck with every stupid financial decision they make.  Nothing can be further from the truth.  Everyone except students can put their financial indiscretions behind them.  Either we revise the bankruptcy code to eliminate bankruptcy as an option to everyone for every type of debt--or we open it to those that are just trying to better themselves through education.  Either method would result in a better system than what we have today.


  1. People don't like lawyers. People have their own problems right now. Easy to see where the comments would go.

  2. The irony is that so many of today's grads will not be lawyers....ever. And everyone hates "lawyers" but not theirs. Higher education is the problem. It's not limited to law school.

  3. If you can produce the contract the BC "lawyer to be" signed when he entered law school that said "I will give you $xx.xx, and in return you will guarantee me a job" I would love to see it.

  4. 11:23 - if you can produce the text where anyone, the BC student included, argued that his tuition payment was supposed to guarantee him a job, I would love to see it.

  5. Hey, Anonymous @ 1123, way to completely miss the point (and misstate contract law at the same time).

    The point is that the way we finance education in this country, especially legal education, is rife with fraud and perverse incentives.

    Let's take a kid looking to go to BC right now. To simplify things, let's say he has two options: a private sector job for 40k a year OR he's going to law school at Boston College w/180k in debt.

    Looking at Boston College Law's website (, he learns that the median student from B.C. going into the private sector makes $160,000 after graduation (no "number responding" is reported). A government sector job will make him $57,000 starting salary.

    So he does the math. He loses 3 years of salary (120,000) plus the $180,000 in debt. That's 300k lost. BUT he has a J.D., and because of Boston College's reported employment numbers (98% employed making 57-160k medians outside of public aid work), he thinks that he's slightly above an average student and he should be able to make 70k a year. And he figures that in a worst case scenario, the J.D. will help him find better employment as a consultant, businessman, etc. So, notwithstanding interest, he figures that getting a J.D. will earn him +20-30k over the other job and that he'll make up the 300k loss in 10-15 years, 20 at the most, and after that he'll be living golden. His conclusion is that law school is a great long-term "investment."

    Now, if this "investment" were traded on the NYSE, its officials would be prosecuted for securities fraud. The numbers you see on the B.C. website are downright fraudulent. They create the perverse incentive of sucking people out of the productive work work and sending them into school for three years, after which their job prospects significantly narrow because of prejudice that the ABA and existing practitioners have absolutely no interest in preventing.

    Truth is that the 180k would have been much better spent gambling on lottery tickets with Capital One credit cards at 22% after missing a payment. That's a completely irrational and reckless action, but you can walk into bankruptcy court, screw the creditor, and walk away with a Chapter 7. Even though the guy in our example - like THOUSANDS - made a very rational choice from the information available to him, he has no such option.

    In the alternative, the 180k could have been used to start a business, buy a house, or invest in stable companies. If any of these go bad, you don't have to carry the debt anymore. But if you have the audacity to get an education because some PT Barnum told you you'd be making 75k+ in 2.5 years of non-relevant study, they won't even let you in the bankruptcy court. So what happens? So-called "educational institutions" become become profit centers rather than public servants and they have no real motivation to train lawyers to work in the modern environment. Meanwhile, twenty- to thirty-thousand of our brightest, hardest-workers youth bend over and let non-dischargable debt pile up while gaining a non-useful skill that they were duped into believing the country still needed.

    So no one gives a poop if this guy signed an actual contract. The point is that the whole system is like something out of a dystopian novel, or a parody of the USSR, where we slaughter our best and brightest and laugh while they complain and turn around and pardon the drunken gamblers.

  6. I don't think this issue is black and white. I sincerely feel bad for the guy and hope you finds a way to work things out. But, after reading his letter, there are a few problems I have:

    1) he comes off as a whiny. He made it seem like he is completely blameless for the situation he is in. I agree that law school's fudge their employment stats, but even if he didn't figure this out before law school, it should have been clear after his first year when the legal market tanked in 2008. He could have dropped out then with a third of the debt. Presumably, he could have gone back to his old job.

    I think that, like most law students, thought he was "special" and would be one of the few to land a job, so he decided to stick with it. Now he wants a way out. He also gives the impression he is the only out there (or other law students) who are hurting. There are many people hurting right now.

    2) He made a mistake of having a child when he knew did not have a job lined up. I recognize that it might have been a 'happy mistake,' but I find it unlikely. It shows an incredible amount if irresponsibility to have a child before being financially able to do so.

    3) Instead of asking for a refund which he knows he won't get, he should have used his situation to highlight the need to allow student loans to be dischargeable in bankruptcy court. He could make a compelling case. Instead, he just wants a refund.

    Again, I really feel bad for the guy. I just wish he would have done a few things differently in his letter. Nonetheless, I hope it works out for him, and everyone else who is hurting too.

  7. I knew plenty of law and medical students - mostly Mormons - who had kids, collected Food Stamps and lived on public assistance. Stupid and selfish, definitely.

    This BC student could have left after first semester, and really cut his losses. However, the school is top 25 - and many students did not figure that they would be in the same boat as grads from Suffolk TTT.

    Regarding the comments, I am not surprised. Lawyers, as a class, are not very sympathetic. MILLIONS are struggling, and the average person cannot be expected to relate to unemployed, licensed attorneys. There will also be some schadenfreude. The best way to garner people's attention is to relate this to the general higher education scam.

  8. BC 3L Student Class of 2011. He was thinking about law school in 2007, when the economy was starting to tank and the infamous WSJ story came out about the law school scam. Then in 2008 this idiot enrolls in law school, takes out huge sums of loans and now he wants a bail out. Well fuck him. I hope those student loans weigh this fucker down like a 20 ton anvil. If he was so god damn smart maybe he should have taken out loans to go to Atlantic City or Foxwoods and gambled it for a payday. At least he could have filed for bankruptcy but no, he played the law school lottery instead. Reckless decision will often lead to cruel results. People like the BC 3L and of his generation need to learn some personal responsibility. Did he really think he could walk away scott free if his gamble didn't pay off. Try walking out of a craps table without settling your bill at an underground casino and you'll see what that gets you.

  9. As other people have stated, much of the problem is that lawyers, especially Gen Y lawyers, are not a terribly sympathetic group to outsiders.

    People think that when a law grad talks about not being able to find a job, they're just selfishly holding out for the $100k+ gig. They don't realize that there will be hundreds of applicants for even an unpaid position. If we apply to 100 minimum wage food service or retail positions, we will get 1 rejection and 99 no-responses.

    My who I think qualifies as a boomer (what's 1955?) has been laying off people at the company she works for. I think they canned about 40% of the people in her department and many more jobs are on the line. And, it's not like these people can just go to other companies. They were laid off because they were working on the canceled Constellation program (the space flight program intended to replace the Space Shuttle); there isn't a secondary verticle takeoff space ship industry.

    And yet, she doesn't grasp that the concept that there might just not be jobs out there. I have 14 months of very spotty, unfocused big law work. This isn't really a qualification for any job. I don't even qualify for entry level paralegal work.

    Previous generations, especially for college educated people, never faced such dismal employment prospects. Many of their companies have had a "check the box" policy regarding college education. Doesn't matter what you actually can do, the degree is all you need. But now, we're in a world that requires selling skills and experience, the degree is only secondary. This is ultimately good, I think, that we're looking more at hiring merit, but we got educated for the previous system.

    And now I think I'm on some sort of tangent and don't want to tie it all together, because my lunch needs to get cooked.

  10. It will take a generation for the attractiveness of attending law school to wear out.

    That is, when the Boomer generation of parents currently influencing things marches off the stage. For the Boomers, particularly the early ones, "higher education" was everything to strive for. ANY education paid off. They are still influencing the kids (their kids) with their overly-optimistic attitudes toward higher ed. This fills the TTT's with unfortunate liberal arts grads who don't really know what to do and have no idea how ugly a job lawyering can be.

    That will not be the case for the next generation, who, unfortunately , are finding out about the real costs of higher ed, the hard way, right now.

  11. And, yes, other professional schools DO have a type of contract with their students.

    It is a form of social contract, which reads "we won't pump out an ungodly number of grads far exceeding projected career openings, and you will pay tuition." They're called dentistry and medicine. Perhaps nursing and physician's assistants.

  12. Well done, 12:39 AM. It is an economically wasteful system we have here. Blaming it all on the kids omits much of the bigger picture, the fraudulence, underlying so much of this.

  13. J-dogged,

    Speaking on behalf of drunken gamblers, as well as those buried in student loan debt, we're pleased gambling debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy. Student loans should be too - then I could really get a fresh start.

  14. Can you PLEASE go over to Cryn's blog at and talk some sense into her? You are awesome and I love your stories.

  15. Great post and comments as usual.

  16. In the case of restoring bankruptcy protection to student loans, I'm just worried about the uproar from hundreds of thousands of students that lived as peasantly as possible, worked hard, made their payments, and lifted that immense burden off their back. Maybe they're 50, but they're free now. Then some 25 year old comes along, discharges all those loans in bankruptcy, and gets to start over.

    What about all the people who were responsible, careful, and sacrificed years or decades of their lives? The lack of bankruptcy protection isn't fair to new student debtors but restoring it now would be so unfair to ex student debtors.

    Catch 22 much? Why would anyone ever remove bankruptcy protection from educational debt anyway? It's insane.

  17. I actually know a couple of people who worked hard and made huge dents in the debt and they are hostile towards the idea of discharging student loans... but this is a selfish way to look at things. If this type of change in the bankruptcy code won't benefit you, it will certainly benefit your children and the economy in general. I honestly don't care if I reached my last payment and then the student loans became dischargeable the next day. I would rejoice for all of those poor pauper students that would be free to take a bottom level job at $30K and not starve. That's a luxury for most students these days... and the American Economy is going no where quickly if companies have to import foreigners to work for the salaries they can pay. That's why the financial industry is filled with Indian and Chinese nationals. They are the only ones who can "afford" to work for so little.

  18. Angel, this is exactly what is wrong with our system - people get pistol-whipped by education, mortgages, what-have-you and we get callous and cold and demand that others should suffer like we suffered. Capitalism has its benefits, but a nasty underbelly, too. I would love a "year of jubilee" for everyone, also, regardless of my individual standing, but hey - that would impact some banker's year-end bonus, so no dice.

  19. Wow, 12:39 AM's comments are worthy of it's own guest post! Right on!

  20. 12:39 again.

    The problem isn't capitalism. The problem is that capitalism isn't being allowed to actually work. Demand for law school is made artificially high by fraudulent employment numbers and government backing without any individual bearing the loss if the non-dischargable loan goes bad. Remove either one of those and tuition prices would drop to real demand level. If we had private backed loans and honest statistics, the bubble would pop overnight and Dean Suckballs would be eating his last can of caviar.

    I understand alumni anger at forgiving student debt. Because they got screwed, they want others to get screwed. That's exactly what the screwers want, as it keeps the focus off them.

    What we need (among a massive damages pay-out from the ABA and its member institutions, which we all know will never happen) is (1) a federal program that promotes federal employment to people carrying government-backed debt,(2) a federal law preventing discrimination against the educated, (3) bankruptcy dischargability OR a removal of public-backed loans and (4) federal law that forces post-secondary schools to maintain audited employment records and send them to all prospective graduates.

    As an aside, I think the bankruptcy law could be changed to meet in the middle. Give the bankruptcy judge broader latitude to lessen student loan debt. I'd be fine with 50k overall of non-dischargable debt. Peg the "reasonable tuition" at what was paid in 1990 + CPI adjustments and make that non-dischargable. The problem is that tuition is like 3 times what it was 15 years ago. I don't think a lot of alumni realize that, or realize that paying off 250k in debt is radically different than paying off 50k in debt.

  21. The reason you have so many people who are unsympathetic is that they are scared little cowards who feel better about themselves by trashing other people who are have fallen on hard times. This is a good way of distancing themselves from the fact that they too are one medical mishap away from total financial disaster. I lay part of the blame at the stupid self help/new age crap about how "you are in charge of your destiny." You are to some degree, but to some degree it's random chance. No one wants to admit that because everyone wants to feel like they are awesome. But you're not . Sometimes you do "everything right" and you get hit by a bolt of lightning on the way to work. Or sometimes you make mistakes-- we all do, no matter how perfect we think we are.

    Also, unless they are directly profiting from the current economic situation, their attitude marks them as suckers with a slave mentality.

  22. I'm close to paying off all my loans and I have no problem with student loans being dischargeable in bankruptcy. It's not like people are getting off scott-free; bankruptcy sucks. That doesn't mean I think it's better to keep people under levels of debt that they realistically will never be able to pay off.

  23. The reason the law was changed to make student loans non-dischargable is that before the change a new graduate with few assets would declare bankruptcy as soon a he got his degree. What could the creditor do, repo his brain? A student loan is a loan without real collateral. Who with any sense (that is, not in government)would make a loan like that if it could be discharged?

  24. Almost all student loans are guaranteed by the US government. Their total value is as large as the total of credit card debt. If these loans are written off it is the taxpayers, the vast majority of whom never borrowed for tuition, who will bear the cost. Why should they pay for your mistakes?

  25. Nando says:

    "I knew plenty of law and medical students - mostly Mormons - who had kids, collected Food Stamps and lived on public assistance. Stupid and selfish, definitely."

    How is this "stupid and selfish"? You basically have to have kids in your early-mid 20s if you want to create a durable family. That's the nature of biology and the reality of time.

    I looked at my parents and granparents (kids at 30 and 40 respectively - I'm 36; my grandmother was born over 100 years ago in 1902 - she's long dead; so is my mother) and realized that waiting to have kids for so long really stretches out the generations.

    Kids are not an economic decision. They are necessary if you want life to continue.

  26. Kids are absolutely an economic decision. Having kids when you cannot afford to feed them is selfish.

    Of course people should be building families, starting careers, what have you, at 22-26. Our economy really hampers that. That's a national problem, and the answer isn't to go ahead and have kids regardless and screw them and you both. The answer is to fix our damn economy so we actually have people entering the work force in in-demand fields as soon as possible instead of wallowing in higher education for years.

  27. J-Dogged said:

    "That's a national problem, and the answer isn't to go ahead and have kids regardless and screw them and you both. The answer is to fix our damn economy so we actually have people entering the work force in in-demand fields as soon as possible instead of wallowing in higher education for years."

    I don't know if you noticed the industrial revolution, cheap oil, and consumerism, but we are in a situation where we literally have to create demand for knick-knacks in order for people to have any "useful work" to do.

    Japan is now building "dark factories" where you can save energy by keeping the lights off. An entire factory of robots.

    3% of our population is invovled in farming and we have produced so many houses we are haivng a major housing bust.

    Food stamps are a de-facto part of "minimum wage". So is Medicaid. So is subsidized housing. Cheap energy is so plentiful America is full of obese people in "poverty".

    We only need to "work" about 10-15 hours a week to keep civilization running at this point.

  28. Typical. Typical. This is why people hate lawyers, see? You people are a plague on the productive sectors of society, and I'm delighted to see your greed rewarded with a kick in the teeth.

    In law school you were generously subsidized by my tax dollars, coming and going, between what I pay to support the state university and what I pay to provide the guarantee for your loans. Now that things aren't working out like you planned, you're looking for moneybags to sue and legal loopholes to welsh on your debts, dumping even more of the tab for your own foolish decisions on me.

    I'm sorry, but if you were smart enough to go to law school, you were smart enough to know the difference between dischargeable and non-dischargeable debt before you signed the papers.

    As someone who paid off the very last penny of my medical school debt in August after 12 years of debt slavery, I have ZERO sympathy for you all. Should have gone to med school with me so you could have actually done something helpful for your fellow man, and made a good living at it. Now you have a choice between being a deadbeat and being an ambulance chaser. Sucks to be you.

  29. I wonder if this med school douche thinks his malpractice defense lawyer is a "plague?" Also, I wonder if he's ever thought about how the rest of us subsidize HIS profession and HIS debts.



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