Monday, May 3, 2010

Some thoughts on contemporary perception

Law school scam:
Many commentators claim that the law school scam has ruined their lives as the debt is so large and nondischargeable with no job prospects in sight. There is strong evidence of unemployable JD's as they continuously bombard the blogosphere with their stories of woe. The feelings are of anger so they respond by attacking the system which has ruined their financial futures. They believe that they have been purposely and fraudulently misled by the law schools so they could profit off of their misfortune.

My take on the matter: Law school scam busters are absolutely correct in their attacks on the law school complex. But for their fraudulent data many would not have been caught up in the scheme. However, I would like to point out something that I feel is lacking in the scam busting world, that being the overall scheme of things.

Here are some questions that we should be asking ourselves: would we have still gone to law school if the true data was published? I know that some would have said fuck that its not worth it but many would still go as they would believe that I will beat the odds, I will make law review, I will be in the upper percentile of earners. I truly believe that even if the true data was posted on law grads not being able to find work many would STILL attend because of hope and recklessness. I believe that this says something about perception, that wealth is abundant and with certain tools we will be made wealthy. A law license was believed to be such a tool. For some it is, for many it is a tool to ruin.

Also, shouldnt we fault ourselves for trusting some "digits" that were published by some law school? We live in a world where bad things happen. People get blown up, shot up, hanged, beheaded, air striked, raped, lied to, abused, cheated on, and so forth. The fact that law schools lie about employment statistics, in the scheme of things, is just a scam amongst the millions of other scams that have happened throughout world history. Consider the Maddoff victims: over 50 billion in investment losses. Consider Enron's collapse or Worldcom. Many retirees had their retirement portolios shattered. Consider many subprime borrowers that so much of the little money they had into home ownership. Scam after scam after scam.
In the end the law schools will recieve their recompense. Some will close. Others will be shamed. Deans will be fired. The conclusion is this: the world we live in is a wicked and evil place, and we must be weary to not be trapped into another scam which surely will be presented to us in one form or another.

In the event that one of us falls into the category of unemployed in law and +150K amount of nondischargeable student loans, is this person doomed to financial ruin?
This is a most difficult question to answer. The facts by themselves suggest that this person will suffer as a result of this crushing debt. The fact of the matter is that the unemployed JD is a tiny, miniscule percentage of the population. There are over 10 million homeowners in default, whereas less than 200,000 JDs are getting crushed in debt, more or less. Our plight will most likely not be recognized by the majority of people. In addition, lawyers are universally hated by the general public. Ive posted about new lawyer woes on other financial blogs and people cheer our suffering. We will not get much support from the general public, nor from the gov, nor from the ABA. We are on our own.

We have been caught in a trap. The injustice against us is severe. We owe all this fucking money with no reasonable means of paying it back anytime soon and having a decent standard of living. Student loan repayments coupled with rising energy prices, rising healthcare costs, low wages and high rents spells hardship for many JD's. The stronger the injustice, the stronger the response. Leaving the country is a reasonable solution for many. Just as other immigrants fled their native countries due to economic discrimination (because in the end all discrimination is in essence economic) so must we. This is one option that exists. If the system is so stacked against us, with banks, government, public sentiment not willing to help us, then we must help ourselves. Who is willing to make a move in order to better his life? Is moving to Germany, Brazil, Singapore, Italy, South Africa, Australia, wherever, worth it in the end? You start a fresh new life, meet new people, and have 0 debt at the expense of leaving loves ones behind. Many others have done the same thing. My parents left world war 2 wrecked greece behind for a better life here. They said goodbye to relatives, friends, and loved ones in order to have economic freedom. For many JD debt slaves in america, fleeing the debt burden is a most viable option. With interest, many will pay back $312,000 on a $150,000 student loan over a period of 25 years. Imagine being able to consume $312,000 over a 25 year period as opposed to paying back debt which did not further your life, but only burdened it. Many american JD's think it to be absurd that they should have to leave their country for a better lifestyle. Heres the reality: it is NOT absurd to leave, but it is absurd to STAY. This is what the lenders want, for us to stay and pay back the loan, with interest.

Millions of others have emigrated for a better lifestyle. The fact that JD's are leaving and other graduate school debt slaves are emigrating from America shows that the USA standard of living has fallen over the course of the past 2 decades. Millions around the world have also gotten professional degrees only to drive cabs and busses, but at least they are debt free as most schools are publicly financed. We JD's here are in a world of trouble and pain. But this can go away rather quickly. Get some type of employment, save your money, work under the table if you have to. Pick a country, get the visa, and split. Learn the language just as so many immigrants here learned our language.

The perception that we american lawyers are so special needs to change. According to the system we are NOT special, but just pawns to be exploited. We studied and gave up working for 3 years in order to pursue a law license to better our lives. We incurred +150k in debt to achieve this goal. For many it has been a fruitless endeavor. We must MAKE OURSELVES SPECIAL. Fleeing the nation is not for everyone. Some will be able to find nonlegal employment that will pay them well. Others have wealthy parents that will support them. But there are thousands of others that will not find alternative employment, do not have wealthy parents, and are working for $15 per hour while owing 150k in debt. Its time to make a move.

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