Monday, November 1, 2010

25 year attorney to Subprime: "I wish I would have met you four years ago to tell you not to go to law school"

I had a interesting day as I went around meeting lawyers with a "rain maker". This guy is a semi-retired attorney who I met through some family friends. He has taken it upon himself to give me a hand by introducing me to several of his attorney friends.

1st lawyer: runs a small firm with his partner. Very nice office, with conference room, law library and 2 secretaries per attorney. We go in his extremely messy office and I get introduced as a brand new attorney. When asked to give me advice he responds with "I wish I would have met you four years ago, because I would have told you NOT to do it". We discussed his practice and told us how he has small business clients but also takes on PI cases such as catastrophic injury or wrongful death. I told him how I knew the settlement amounts have plunged since the fall of 2008. He said I was correct. I further told him that when Lehman Brothers collapsed causing the financial markets to trainwreck that the insurance companies were in a tight position, not releasing a dime. He looked at me in wonder as I explained to him in just a few sentences why his settlement amounts plunged over 50%.

2nd lawyer: very type A alpha male. Has certificates and awards all over his wall. Very nice office, much neater than lawyer No. 1. Lawyer No. 2 was a BIGLAW associate who then went solo. When my buddy asked him to give me advice lawyer No. 2 responded with "run" and "you shouldn't have gone to law school". Yeah, tell me something I know bud.

So yes you law school applicants, think hard and well as you send in your applications this fall. By the time you graduate in Spring 2014 there will be an additional 200,000 more JD's running around like chickens with their heads cut off looking for work. I told the attorneys today that the tier 4's and some tier 3 law schools would shut down when word gets out on how bad of a investment law school is. They all agreed and also added that these schools "should not have been created in the first place".

Driving back home from south OC I was on Brookhust going north to get on the 22 freeway. I drove through the Vietnamese area and counted at least 10 "law offices" in these strip malls. One strip mall with some 20 odd units had 3 LAW OFFICES!! As I saw these signs I thought to myself that each and every one of those attorneys had super high expectations for themselves in law school. I bet that none of them ever thought that they would have their offices next to a donut shop or cleaners, nail salon, mortgage broker, martial arts academy, etc. But this is the situation for attorneys in America today. Enter the profession at your own folly.

Subprime

7 comments:

  1. and all those strip mall lawyers will say that they are doing well. They need to fake it till they make it, or at least that is what they think

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  2. When I was a little kid, I went to sunday school in garbage grove..err.. I mean Garden Grove, CA. I know that area very well.

    Little Saigon is Garden Grove and Little Gaza is in Anaheim (all the Arabs live there by Disneyland)

    I've gone on interviews at some of those law firms off of Brookhurst, Euclid, Harbor, etc.

    I've met many of those Attorney's and interviewed for Paralegal jobs. Most of those small attorneys in central OC do immigration law ( all the Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants) and criminal/Personal injury.

    Most do traffic court and silly personal injury cases. Many of the ones I've met barely make ends meet. Even solo practioners with years of experience there make less than 100k a year.

    You aren't kidding, most of them never thought they would end up stuck in a miserable practice making money off of others peoples miserys for the rest of their lives.

    One of those Attorneys off of Brookhurst gave me the number of a former client who works at a Nursing school, he told me to go into Nursing. Now, that may be a possibility for me.

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  3. Who doesn't want to practice immigration toiletlaw in a strip mall, located next to Subway, a nail salon, and a nickel arcade?!?!

    After all, Subway is about the only place such a toiletlawyer can afford to eat. HomelessLawyer is correct, in that these fools will tell others how well they are doing. Too many big egos in this "profession." They cannot bring themselves to admit they made a terrible choice, i.e. "I have $145K in (non-dischargeable) student loan debt, I only make $40K, but I KNOW I made the right decision."

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  4. Nando:

    I spoke with a fellow grad who is 220k deep in nondischargeable debt. He told me that he believes in the 80/20 rule, that the bottom 80 work for the top 20. He says he's going to make it to the 20 club. Hope springs eternal I guess. Little does the guy know that its no longer the 80/20 rule but the 99/1 rule, where 99 work for 1 and he is part of the 99.

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  5. "I told the attorneys today that the tier 4's and some tier 3 law schools would shut down when word gets out on how bad of a investment law school is."

    -----------

    I find this very unlikely. They'll always be enough lemmings somewhere who will be starry-eyed at the thought that they and their 2.2 GPA and 132 LSAT score could go to law school and become a rich lawyer like in those Hollywood movies.

    Smarter students from middle class families might eventually figure it out, but it will take a long time before the message trickles down to students from poorer families, students who may be the first person in their family to ever go to college. After graduating with worthless bachelor's degrees from for-profit colleges, they'll be pleasantly surprised when they learn that law schools have openings for enthusiastic students from humble backgrounds.

    Even people with Down Syndrome can go to college today! I don't see any reason why the law schools wouldn't happily accept tuition dollars from college graduates who have Down Syndrome. Their parents will be starry-eyed and thrilled with the prospect of their little angels going to law school.

    As long as student loan money is freely available, the law schools will find victims, somewhere, to feed on.

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  6. Frank: "As long as student loan money is freely available".

    You are absolutely correct that as long as the koolaid is being poured out for the fools to drink, they will drink and get drunk on the koolaid of credit. Consider that the Dept of Education is now the primary lender in the student loan market. Just as the for profit education industry is SLOWLYYY coming under scrutiny, so will the lower tiered law schools. When the feds discover what the loan repayment rates are for the TTTT's, access to funding will get cut off.

    Unless of course the law school bubble ponzi is unlike every other bubble ponzi which blew up causing prices to revert to the mean. In the end all bubbles revert to the mean, just like the nasdaq, housing, tulip bubble, south sea bubble, etc.

    Could you imagine that in 2020 there will be 250 law schools with average annual tuition of $65,000 per year with 60,000 graduates gettting pumped out? Here is how I see it playing out: regardless of whether the lemmings keep signing up it will be the gov which will put an end to the bubble. There are only so many losses the gov will take on overpriced education. At least that is what I'm HOPING will happen...

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