Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I lost friends who apparently got tired of me saying, "sorry, for the 100th time, I can't go out tonight. I DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY."

Gawker published stories from the unemployed and a lawyer's story made the cut.  It's truly a fascinating story to those that don't know that attorneys can be poor, on Medicaid and starving.  Click here and scroll down to "The attorney" and read about her corner of hell.  Honestly, from August of 2010 until August of 2011, her life didn't read much differently than that of an unemployed baby mama from the hood.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Guess Right and Win a Kindle!

And I will always love youuuuuuuuuu.....
Every year, there's some sickos on the web that predict which celebrities will die in the coming year.  There's even a way to earn money by betting on the same--although it feels a little immoral to bet on someone's death.  Don't get me wrong, I do have my own personal list: Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen and K-Fed... Russell Brandt is on my list too.

Here today.
Anyhow, based on this concept, unperson came up with a completely fabulous idea and I am going to push it as hard as my broke ass can: by starting The Law School Death List.

As many of you should know by now unless you're flaming, fucking idiots, the number of LSAT test takers is way down and admissions at law schools are likewise down since the cat is out of the bag.  In most recent news, Texas Wesleyan School of Law is being sold to Texas A&M.  Yah, yah, yah... mutually beneficial, limitless possibilities, joint degrees.  I call bullshit.  

Texas Wesleyan was probably having difficulty filling seats and folded.  So, the question is (drumroll please) which school is next?

Gone tomorrow.
So, this is how the game works, and I certainly need your help to keep track.  In the comments to this post, please guess the name of the next law school that will fold.  Fold, for the purposes of this game, is either (1) being sold to another educational institution or (2) closing altogether.   If you turn out to be correct and first  I will send you a Kindle as a prize.  If you have a profile, I will be able to reach you, but if you decide to do it anonymously--just email me your contact info and your guess as well and I will be in touch.  But you must list it in the comments or I won't count it.  Good luck with The Law School Death List and may the odds be ever in your favor!  That's Hunger Games in case y'all didn't  know.
If you see the next law school closing and I haven't noticed, please tell me about it.  I can't keep track of all the law school news.
Love, hugs and kisses.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tamanaha's Book: Whistleblowing on the Law School Industrial Complex

Professor Tamanaha of Washington University Law School is calling out his comrades in a book entitled "Failing Law Schools."  I just ordered my copy, and I urge all of you to do the same (if you can afford it).  The fallout from this could be huge for Professor Tamanaha and I want righteousness to win out over evil.  Who knows whether he'll be employed or employable after squealing on the Law School Industrial Complex.  He's doing what I never had the guts to do, be frank and put his name on it.
As you know, many of the scam bloggers remain anonymous for fear of being black balled in the community.  That's a real fear.  Fairly recently, an outed scamblogger asked that I take down a post on him because the post ranked high on Google and potential clients were holding it against him.  I feel horribly about it.
Back to Tamanaha... He's been a supporter of the scam blogger movement and I commend him on stating the obvious, no matter how much it hurts:  law schools are pumping out more graduates than the economy needs AND tuition (the very tuition which compensates Professor Tamanaha) is too high and has increased at rate higher than inflation.
Those of you that followed my post on Jack Marshall's blog entitled "Ethics Alarms" shook your heads at his denseness relating to the alleged versatility of the law degree.  Meanwhile, Tamanaha's ground breaking book hits the stores and the issue of overrated and overpriced juris doctorates has been addressed by many esteemed newspapers such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington  Times--and many, many more.  And just this week, the ABA releases statistics that hit you in the gut like the runaway train from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter--only 55% of law graduates have full-time employment.  Please note, that does not speak to the quality of employment, benefits and/or lack thereof and how much of those 55% are employed by their law schools until the 1st day of the 10th month, for the sake of statistics.  In short, if you don't realize by now that law school is as much a gamble as black jack at the Borgata, you must be nuts.  Please don't go.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The American Dream is Dead.

But you know that.  Here's a nice little segment worth listening too while you're at work.  It's nice to know that we're not alone.  We are standing hand in hand with many Americans living the American Nightmare.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rip this guy a new one!

An anonymous comment pointed me to a post on another blog entitled "Young, Gullible, Lazy, Unimaginative and Unbelievable: I Wonder Why This Lawyer Has Trouble Finding A Job?"  This post is actually calling bullshit on the 99% sign that I posted yesterday (see below).  The author goes as far as to say:
A law degree is the most versatile and useful degree there is. It is just as useful for getting management jobs in business and politics as it is in law. It is considered a credential for consulting, negotiation, public speaking, and lobbying. I once was hired to run a health care organization that required a medical degree: they couldn’t find a doctor they liked, so the Chairman of the Board said, “Eh, a law degree’s just as good,” and hired me. No prospects? None? What’s wrong with this guy?

Look. I'm as unsympathetic as the next when it comes to people relying on social welfare rather than attempting to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.  I come from a family of immigrants and ALL of my cousins and siblings have managed to go on to the American dream (house, job, kids). I'm actually the most educated of all of them and the poorest.  But the legal profession is something altogether different.  Young lawyers are deserving of sympathy.  After all, they weren't lawyers when they decided to go to law school.  The Legal Industrial Complex actively defrauds our nation's young into spending over $100K for an education that will be worthless, a dead weight, an impediment to our happiness.  That is not a result of our youngs' laziness or stupidity.  It's a crime.  It's a fucking cartel that should be taken down with RICO laws.

And these aren't just any kids that are being bamboozled--its our nation's brightest.  I thought of my readers when I read this line from Zone One by Colson Whitehead.
He'd never had trouble with the American checklist, having successfully executed all the hurdles of his life's stages from preschool to junior high to college, with unwavering competence and nary a wobble into exceptionality or failure.  He possessed a strange facility for the mandatory.
Of course, the book goes on to discuss a zombie apocalypse, but the same line applies to all of those that go to law school.  They aren't losers and should have gotten somewhere accomplishing all the necessary tasks required to succeed in life.  It wasn't that hard, am I right?  But then, law school comes in and weighs them down, sinking them into utter poverty.  We're definitely part of the 99%.

 Please post a comment on HIS blog, not mine, so he knows that the scenario discussed in this sign is common place--and nothing to scoff at.

Family Matters: Guest Post by Esq. Never

My post law school life has posed many challenges and humiliations. I essentially have to finance a small mortgage worth of student loans while also paying for rent. After living on my own for several years, I had to spend three years living with my parents. I lost out on three to four years worth of income and work experience. I, of course, had a miserable time finding a serious, professional job after school. While things were difficult for me for a long period, I always had a lot of flexibility to deal with my challenges.

I could stay with my parents. If that option wasn't available, I probably could have couch surfed, or found a tiny apartment in a bad area and strung together enough low level jobs to make ends meet. I held back on most expenses while I was unemployed. I was able to take some low level temp jobs in my attempt to rebuild my resume until I could land something better.

None of this would be possible, however, if I had a family. Mom and dad wouldn't be so happy to host an entire other nuclear family under their roof. Staying in the apartments of friends would be out. I couldn't have taken a low income temp route to try to build up a marketable skill set. I would have had to probably juggled multiple low wage jobs in order to feed my family. I would almost certainly be legitimately poor - perhaps for a long period of time.

I don't want to belittle the suffering of single people who went to law school - after all I'm one of them. Law school sets everyone back in life - unless they can land a great job and go easy on the debt (a rare combination), but it's particularly a pernicious force when those with families come out ruined. Imagine somebody has a decent job going into law school, and three years later they're in six figures of debt and can't buy a job.

I remember there was one guy in law school who had a job before law school, but was looking for a better career. He said he needed to make about $80k after school because he had a family. I'm not sure if he meant, only $80k would make the decision to go to law school worth it when he had to support a family or if it meant he couldn't maintain a reasonable lifestyle for his family at less than $80k. In either case, I don't know what happened to him, but I doubt he found a job with a salary he wanted. He wasn't a law review member, so it's a wonder if he found any decent legal (or non legal) job. In fact, getting a salary in that range right out of law school is exceedingly rare. Usually, small to mid law starts anywhere from the $40k to mid $60k's with limited room for improvement. Some more insidious roles or non profit positions could pay even less. Big law folks do make six figure salaries, but (aside from doc review) there aren't too many jobs in the middle.

Even if you can land a job, it has to hurt to know that you've set your own family back financially. A $40 or $50k salary doesn't go too far for a family of four particularly if you live in an area with a high cost of living. Plus, when you add in the debt, that's another bite into the family budget.

To the extent that the law school scam artists seek to justify their misdeeds, they probably have single people in mind. "Sure those kids will suffer in their 20's. Instead of renting luxury apartments and buying brand new consumer electronics, they'll have to sacrafice a little bit to pay back their student loans until they make better salaries. Besides, they have the IBR, so they'll be able to get by even before they make decent wages."

While singles struggle plenty with employment and debt, it's a lot easier for them to muddle along with $30k salaries. The monthly loan payments could obviously go to better causes, but they won't starve because of them (at least under the IBR). Job hopping and relocating are more realistic for this cohort, so the chance of emerging from this debacle with mitigated damages is more likely.

The cold blooded law school deans, however, either don't think (or care) about the plight of those trying raise a family. If a law graduate who is a parent is locked out of a professional position because of the J.D. what is he or she to do? It's pretty hard to support a family working part time at Home Depot: Particularly since having a family usually requires a mortgage for a home, a larger grocery budget, and more insurance. Do the law schools care that someone like this will go from the ivory tower to the welfare lines with no chance of ever retiring his debt?

If you're single and you're stubborn about your desire to go to law school, you're only digging yourself into a massive hole. If, however, you have a family, just remember, you're not only gambling with your future, you're gambling with your family's as well.

Esq. Never is a former Scam Blogger, who now runs the blog Finding a Non-Legal Job, which provides law graduates and attorneys with advice about transitioning into non-legal fields.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

About Time!!

Long ago, I said that the only way to save the legal profession is to cut enrollment.   If all law schools cut their incoming classes to 200 students, these students (especially from the top 50) will be more valuable and subsequently, more recruitable and employable.  Today, I ran across an article that states that  few law schools that have come to this realization.  Bravo to Northwestern and Hastings!  I hope that many other law schools re-examine their overly inclusive enrollment and increase the value of their overpriced degrees.  Of course, no article is complete without a mention of Cooley--which is single handedly bringing down the legal market with its 3,700 students in Michigan AND in Florida.  Of course they aren't considering reducing the size because doing so might adversely affect minorities.  I believe "minorities" must be Cooley for "profits."  Look, I'm a minority and I am being dead serious when I say that minorities are not better off with a $100,000+ JD and no job.  If you think I'm wrong then, feel free to chime in.  By the way, nice stat in that article--this is the worst market for lawyers in 18 years.  That's pretty intense.

On a side note, I called a car service today that I used to use regularly when I was in big law.  I got a driver that remembered me and he asked why I don't call as often as I used to.  I said, "Dude, I'm broke."  He asked me if I'm still a lawyer, and I said yes--working for myself and it's been a rough ride. He said, "OH, but you are a lawyer--I'm sure you make lots of money."  I will officially close down this blog when it is common knowledge that lawyers are broke.

For now, it's Angel--over and out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The BEST Lawyer Billboard EVER!

Driving to Federal Court in Newark, New Jersey, I ran across this billboard and I had to smile:

I don't know if you can tell, but this is Brooke Barnett's law firm staff (and her) dressed like gangsters.  What a way to appeal to your clientele!  I think it's brilliant!  Or it just goes to show what one must do to get a client, or two.  But if she does criminal law in Newark, she's in the right place, with the right zoot suit.  You go Brooke!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The End of the the Contract Attorney Era: By Court Mandate

We have discussed Robo Lawyers in the past and how e-discovery conducted by computers will impact the market place for contract attorneys (a.k.a. document review attorneys).  It's my feeling and perhaps the general consensus that contract attorney jobs will dissipate gradually with the ebb and flow of the free market.  Attorneys in India are cheaper than our lawyers, who are heavily laden with the burden of student loan debt.  Then, once clients get the memo that much of contract monkey work can be done by computers, sans attorneys altogether, document review "opportunities" will eventually disappear altogether. However, although covered in 2011, the change did not seem imminent.  After all, it takes a long while for the legal market place to catch up to technology, or so I thought.

Welcome to tomorrow.    Judge Peck of the the Southern District of New York court mandated robo-attorneys for document review--because it's cheaper.  I have practiced in Federal Court and this type of "innovative" idea could catch like wildfire--and spread from one Judge's chambers to the other.  Let's determine how many jobs this type of case would have created.  Apparently, the issue in the case is as follows:
Whether Publicis Groupe compensated female employees less than similarly situated males via salary, bonuses, or perks; precluded or delayed the selection and promotion of females into higher level jobs held by male employees; and carried out terminations or reassignments when the company was reorganized in 2008 that disproportionately impacted female employees.
 I'm thinking this type of case would have provided work for 25 or so contract attorneys.  So, thanks for putting 25 young, starving and possibly homeless contract attorneys out of work, Judge Peck.  I know, it's not his responsibility to make sure that young attorneys are working.  But it's also not his responsibility to make watch the litigants' pockets.  Next he'll be looking at the attorney's bills and deciding whether the work is administrative or legal in nature before the check is cut.  Unless, of course, the legal fees are awarded to the Plaintiff---which could actually be the case here.  Then that does fall within his duties as a judge.  Whatever.  That's not the point.

Litigation is pricey and that is part of what makes the machinery of the legal system turn as it does. To usurp that premise by dictating methods of discovery is... should I say... reversible error?

Let's see what happens. Run, don't walk, away from contract work. It's no place to be when the ground splits open beneath your feet.

Moral of the Story: The government always finds a way to intervene, i.e. ruin, the free market.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Guest Post from a Recent Graduate

To the class of 2011:

It was not so long ago that you and I were among the over 40,000 graduates of the class of 2011.  In fact it has been about 9 months and I, like most of you, recently received an email from my CSO office asking me to complete the post graduate employment survey.  I remembered back to a presentation my CSO director gave first year stating our school's median graduate salary was $63,000 and that we boasted an impressive 86% rate of employment upon graduation.  During the presentation, I noticed a footnote on the bottom of the Power Point stating the stats were based on a 35% response rate.  I raised my hands, pointed it out, was brushed off and the footnote was removed from the document in the Symplicity library.

This was my first indication something was wrong.  Soon, I discovered blogs like this one and began to spread the word to other law students and 0L's.  As I read this blog and others, I learned that the rosy picture law schools paint about employment is affected by the low response rate to the graduate employment surveys and the fact that the "winners" of the law school game are more likely to report their salaries. (according to Law School Transparency, my schools response rate looks to be under 20% last year)  Also, since there are few winners, CSO may contact them more aggressively then the grads tending bar and serving lattes.

What if we all, bad, worse and ugly, reported our employment situation in detail to our CSO offices?

If you are a graduate of 2011 or know one, please ask them to complete the survey below and email it to their career services offices IMMEDIATELY!

Are you employed
How many hours per week?
How much money do you bring home in a month?
What are your monthly student loan payments?
What payment plan are you on? (standard, extended, graduated, IBR)
Are your loans in deferment, forbearance or default?  (If yes Which)
Is your job temporary or permanent? (If temporary when will it end)
Does your job provide health insurance?
Does your job require a J.D?
What do you actually do for work?  (i.e. Skadden litigator or sandwich artist)

Best of luck to you all, I know as you do that it's rough out there.


I'd like to run my own little tally of where May 2011 grads are today.  Drop a note as to what you are doing currently in the comments section.  Other scambloggers are doing the same, maybe we can come up with our own sample survey results.  Make sure to answer the above questions and post anonymously!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

LegalMatch: Grease Trap for Solos

I received a great tip on a scam that all solos should be aware of--LegalMatch.  Apparently, according to my tipster, he was contacted by Merrill with an offer of client referrals about 2 years ago.  Now, all attorneys know that you're not supposed to pay a referral fee--but lawyers do.  Generally it's a percentage of what you earn after you receive it, or the referral agency collects the money from the client and takes their cut off the top before they pay you.   So, when he was contacted by LegalMatch because they had a need for real estate attorneys in New York.  He was sent the following email:

Your inquiry was sent over to me for reply. You expressed some interest in our attorney-client matching organization. In order for us to consider any attorney in any given area, we must first have a sufficient number of clients for them to serve in their area. This is done by first getting the answers to the following:
So if you would please answer the following I can determine whether such factors exist and move forward with you from there.
1) What are the main areas of law you handle? (list in order of preference);
2) What states are you licensed to practice in?
3) Do you limit the counties that you take clients from? (If so list counties);
4) Do you practice full or part time?
5) Are you solo or partnered firm?
Sounds harmless, right?  After sending in his answers, he was then set up with a test.  Yes, they sent him a test.  The email was as follows:
I spoke with Director ___________ and he has not as yet decided to select any attorney out of the several he has interviewed over the past few weeks for the New York Area. And so he authorized me to give you access to our Real Estate Litigation clients to determine whether it will be worthwhile to schedule you to for a teleconference with him. I've included New Jersey as well. 
Would you please evaluate at least twenty (20) of the these clients. This will be done by way of having you log on to an Evaluation account. You would have to speak with the Director to determine whether he could present you for more practice areas.
The evaluation account is where you review cases that we have in your area. Our model is to limit the number of attorneys in each area so we do not overwhelm clients with too many choices and can ensure the success of those attorneys who are selected by our Attorney Review Committee to represent those clients. In order to review our current clients please follow the instructions infra: 
Please go to legalmatch.com and on the right hand side, below the Supreme Court pillars, click on "Member Attorney Log In" then type in lower case one word "___________" for user name and password "clients" 
Get your pen and paper and write 3 columns: Yes, No and ? 
Once you log in you well see client cases on the left side. Click on Family Law and this shall give a listing of all cases we have in your region. Next: then click on the first case at the top of the list. This shall open up the description of the case. from there evaluate the case and answer the question "would I be inclined or disinclined to engage this case?" If yes, place a mark in the Yes column, if not inclined, place a mark in the No column. Once you complete review click Next at the upper center then review the next nineteen (19) cases while keeping track of how many you would be inclined versus disinclined to engage.
This will determine whether it would be worth while for me to schedule a teleconference with my Director. 
NOTE: Some clients may make the mistake of entering their contact info into the body of the facts. They are expecting a LegalMatch lawyer, so please do not call them if you see such. 
Thank you.
So, he proceeded to evaluate the cases, which took lots of time.   After doing that he was told that he was under consideration for becoming part of LegalMatch, but he needed to go through a selection process and be considered by their selection committee.  He started to get really excited.  Hell, he'd gladly fork over a third for all of the guaranteed business.  He was even directed to a website that showed how much traffic LegalMatch gets verses other referral services.

He then had no less than 5 conference calls with a Director as part of the selection process.  Each time, he was told that the pool was slimming down and he was still in the running.  Several of these calls took longer than a half hour and he was salivating at the mouth for this unique opportunity.

FINALLY, he heard from the Director with the good news.  He was being made an offer.  He was selected as THE CANDIDATE for their opening in Real Estate Litigation in New York.  He thought it was the answer to his dreams.... after all, getting clients in the door is the number one challenge in running a solo practice.  Well, first you have to know what you're doing.  But it is the second hardest thing.  Then he received the following email to confirm his offer:

Candidate Membership Application—Confirmation Email

Membership Applicant Name:      ________________, Esq.
Area(s) of Practice/Client Type:   Real Estate
Geographical/Client Region: State of New York. The attorney, shall have access to all Real Estate client matters coming to LegalMatch only from within the specified client allocation areas, and seek to engage those who he deems appropriate for Practice’s goals and objectives. 
Membership Term  and  Fee:     Three (3) year Membership for $73,795 per year, only if  The Committee selects attorney.

Upon Committee Approval Fee Shall Be Paid As Follows: If attorney is selected by LegalMatch’s Attorney Review Committee, membership shall be extended and $6149 shall be paid followed by membership orientation, creation of home page and the scheduling of attorney to commence review of client matters and sending responses thereto, followed by thirty-five (35) subsequent installments of $6149.

§1 Reply to this email by typing in §2 infra: “I confirm the details infra/above” in the body of your e-mail reply.  Once I receive your reply, we will overnight to you your Applicant Packet which includes a sample profile, Attorney Membership Agreement, and other helpful membership tools for you.  By confirming this email you agree to have the $500 Application Fee charged via the billing method you provided and move forward in the application process.  If you are not approved for Membership, your $500 Application Fee will be refunded in its entirety.  I understand that an Attorney Membership Agreement will be forthcoming for my review and that this understanding of parameters above does not constitute a formal offer of membership with LegalMatch.  LegalMatch reserves the right to accept, or reject, my application based on their strict eligibility requirements.
Wow and wow.  Here's the real kicker:  they don't guarantee you any business at all!  He nearly vomited in his mouth (I'm using artistic license of course) and never wanted to hear from them again.  To pay that amount of money up front is insanity!

To add insult to injury, he got an email this week with the subject line "Attorney Needed":

I am assisting a group of potential clients that have completed an intake and are ready to retain an attorney. I realize your time is limited. Are you available this week for a 10-15 minute conference call?
Please advise.
Yep, LegalMatch again.

Don't waste your time with their nonsense.  If you have $75K to hand over to this grease trap  then you probably don't need the business.  

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