Friday, February 11, 2011

Young attorney nears homelessness

From JD underground:

WitsEnd (Feb 11 - 5:11 pm)

I have been a lurker but haven't posted until now. This is my situation of which I am deeply ashamed. It's just not supposed to be like this. I have as my moniker suggests come to my witsend of the situation I'm in.

I live in suburban NY and graduated from one of the TTT/TTTT institutions. I graduated middle of the pack (3.1 gpa) I passed the bar on the first try but have not been able to secure gainful employment. The best I could do is working retail for $8.50/hr and only part-time. I sent out hundreds of resumes and can't get a lawyer job....regardless of the pay....can't get anything decent or paying above what I'm making at my clothing store. I even got turned down from the local 7-11 night shift job.

A couple months ago I did sales work for a title insurance company but that fell through. Between gas and only getting paid on commission that deal put me in the hole even more. as a matter of fact thats when I got stopped driving without insurance because I couldn't afford it.

I an 29 have 30K in undergrad debt and 120K in law school debt and a 5K bar loan. Interest rates are variable but I am obviously in default so it doesn't matter. I clear about $180 a week. I am now getting evicted and have nowhere to go. My landlord was decent, but she could only take so much and had me evicted and the sheriff just put a 72 hour notice on my door.

My father is dead and my mother can't help me as she is only living on SSI and can't take me in because she rents an apartment with a roomate. I have no siblings or other family. I have some friends but I am ashamed to ask them to take me in as they, themselves aren't doing well either.

I am at my wits end. I really don't know what my next step will be. I have about $300 bucks to my name right now, no car, no assets other than some of my cloths, some cheap furniture, my 5 year old laptop and my late fathers class ring.

I never though this could happen to me. I never did drugs, never drank, never been arrested, I did everything I was supposed to do. I went to college, went on to law school yet I'm facing homelessness in the winter. It's just not supposed to be this way.

Yet another story of a law school scam victim. Although this particular situation is extreme, there are thousands of recent graduates who heads are barely treading water. This is a disastrous time to attend any higher education institution on student loan money especially if you do not have the resources to assist you in the event of unemployment.

In addition to the financial pain that struggling graduates suffer is the psychological beatdown of shattered expectations. As I attended law school, I can testify to the feeling of opportunity and optimism while completing my studies. People receive constant positive feedback as friends and family refer to you as "the lawyer." Although I knew that biglaw would never happen I assumed that the vast majority of my class would find decent paying jobs and somewhat fulfilling careers upon graduation. Nearly 2 years later I see many of my classmates going solo practitioner with their virtual offices. I know for a fact many of these new solos are drowning in loans and the only reason they opted to go solo is out of desperation. From hope and optimism to fear and despair. At least the high school graduate has expectations in line with his reality as he goes to work at the auto body shop. At least the cheerleader that goes to work at Home Depot is satisfied with her job as she didn't waste 7 years going to school and borrowing for tuition.

The same cannot be said for the new attorney who finds himself underemployed and/or jobless with 100k plus of student loan debt. I remember the anger I felt when I was working with my dad in the restaurant for over 20 months after graduation. Not that there is anything wrong with working in a restaurant, but there IS something wrong with it especially after 7 years of fucking school. I would think to myself "why the bar exam? Why all that money, why those apartments? Why all those books and laptops?" Luckily I found a full time job in law. I truly was one of the lucky ones. The same can't be said for thousands of other law school graduates. Just the feeling of being scammed can drive a person crazy.

The other day my friend who owns a call center told me that three law school graduates applied for sales positions that he offered. He may actually hire one of them because of all the yelling and screaming I have done against the law schools. Of course the law grad will be ecstatic to have some income upon working. But that feeling of being scammed will eat away at him, knowing that his co-workers are high school grads making the same money as him without the loans.

This is what happens when supply and demand are out of line. 45,000 grads versus 26,000 job openings. Many will be left out of the game. Graduate from a low tiered school in this environment and the odds of being left out grow exponentially. You are in my prayers WitsEnd. Good luck to you.


  1. Hang in there brother. I feel for you.

  2. Having been also in a bad spot I can tell you, you can survive this. Lessons I learned when times where really bad: (1) Pride goes out the window, its purely about survival--so do what you have to do to get room and board and don't pay too much attention to what people think about you trying to survive, (2) mental toughness is everything--remember your situation only becomes permanent if you let it, and (3) forgive yourself for any decisions you regreted you made---the quicker you completely forgive yourself the sooner your mind is free and open to see the opportunities that will come before you. Best wishes.

  3. Join the military. Enlist into a career that suits you. You would make all your payments, have a house, food, insurance, retirement, vacation days. More importantly, you should go see a priest-and pray!

  4. Maybe you can find a job as an oil and gas leasing agent, working the Marcellus Shale gas play in NY and PA.

  5. At the very least, the interest on his loans should be frozen until he finds a decent paying job. Just knowing that his loans aren't growing while he's looking for gainful employment would surely boost his morale. The fact that the loans grow while he's in a desperate situation pushes him further in despair. This is fucking ridiculous. Slavery has returned to America.

  6. It is ALL about survival. After graduating from Third Tier Drake, I lived in my sister-in-law's basement for 5 months. Some apologists asked me if I kissed her feet - or worse.

    I actually paid a small amount for rent each month. And if I had to, I would have kissed her feet. Hell, I would have swallowed any semblance of pride I had at that point, and I would have kissed each of her individual toes. If I had to smell her wide soles, I probably would have.

    Think of how many recent JDs and college grads who would be living on the streets, if not for the generosity of friends and family.

  7. I feel for this person and would love to help out. I don't have much going for me, either, at least financially or job wise, but I do have supportive parents and a wonderful spouse to help me through the hell my life has become since I graduated from law school. I have a very unfulfilling, low-paying job - but thank god I have one - and have massive loans to pay also, but this person has it so much worse than me that I wish I could help in some way (groceries, tolietries, etc.) I am a great bargain hunter and have really learned to make my meager dollars last.

  8. I hate to say it, but if you are only clearing $180 a week, then my feeling is you are not trying hard enough or are not being creative enough. There are plenty of ways to make money, you just have to think outside the box and quit seeing yourself as just an attorney. Can't you do some criminal work for the public defenders' office? Get out there and start shaking some hands to get some of that list work. I clocked in at about $180,000, but have since paid it down to about $110,000 currently. Took almost 10 years to get to this point. I'd say see if your mother will take you in or see if you can go in on an apartment together. You really need family support at this point until you can finally get on your feet financially. I haven't reached the point you are at, but I can certainly understand the dilemma. But for my fiance, I might be living in a cardboard box right now. Good luck.

  9. Recruiting in China Pays Off for U.S. CollegesBy JACQUES STEINBERG
    Published: February 11, 2011
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  10. @ 7:54 PM

    You do know that people are actually volunteering to work for the public defenders office for NOTHING, the market being so dire that they are desperate to get experience.

    There. are. no. jobs.

    The wheels are falling off the world.

  12. Marx said that the goal of international capitalism is to create an international "Army of Unemployed".

  13. Marx was right.

    My loans grew by $16k in 2 years that I was unemployed. Even keeping the loans low is pointless because after you're unemployed they just get bigger and bigger and then become near unpayable because they're so high.

    IBR is the only option and needing a full discharge. It's really sad. That's 10-25 years where you are losing a chunk of money and need to deal with these crooks.

  14. I am an attorney with a litigation firm in Los Angeles that is seeking law school graduates who were misled by their law school regarding the prospects for obtaining post-graduation employment. Specifically we are interested in law school grads who have been unsuccessful in finding employment as an attorney and have more than $75,000 in debt from any of the following schools: Southwestern, Chapman, Golden Gate, Santa Clara, La Verne, Western State, Fullerton, Thomas Jefferson, Cal Western, University of the Pacific (McGeorge) and University of West Los Angeles. Please call me at 877-671-9879 if this applies to you.

  15. Can you not file for bankruptcy eventually? I know people have done that when they defaulted on 200k LOCs.

  16. Unaccredited Law Student, former Cooley Kid, starting my own unaccredited Scam Blog, need help. Here is my first post. Would love a link, and your thoughts on how I can improve. You are one of my hero's! Keep fighting the ABA man!

  17. Just recently I was "lit up" what you need to enjoy the things that doing otherwise and deal with the place does not move, and you get tired of it many times more.) You have moved far beyond this truth!

  18. All of these law schools say that their 2009 and 2010 employment rates are 90% or higher. Umm, what definition are they using for 'employment'? Unpaid internships? Jobs at McDonalds? I graduated last year with a JD/MBA, passed the NY and NJ bars, and am awaiting my CA bar results, and am eeking by having started my own firm, but truly, it ain't easy and I am still struggling to pay my car payment each month. Most of the folks I went to law school with don't have jobs. These schools should be ashamed of themselves--at my law school graduation last year, the dean of the school actually said AS PART OF HIS GRADUATION SPEECH TO US "We'd like to invite you to give back tot he school with you generous donations, blah blah" IS HE FOR REAL? Absolutely unbelievable.

  19. ^ you forget about Gates :D :D If you remember Steve Jobs, you must'nt forget about his "best friends" :D

  20. There really should be a report about the scam of the promises of law school on 20/20 or something.

    I graduated in May 2010, passed the NY bar and am Still looking. I'm lucky enough to have family to stay with but i go crazy from time to time having nothing to do and nowhere to work and especially having no money of my own. Since i don;t have to worry about rent and food, i can't bring myself to work retail or anything like that.

    I recently went to an interview and I had the shock of my life when the small start up law firm asked if I was okay working 2200 billable hours. I said, 'yes' but then he tells me that my salary would be high $30s/ low $40s. So I should be working 12 hours a day plus Saturdays and get that salary?? That's exploitation. But then i thought 'i haven't worked in so long, just take it!!' Dilemma. Any thoughts?

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