Saturday, January 8, 2011

The law school scam in the New York Times business section

This is a major victory in the battle against the law schools and their fraudulent employment data. By way of example, Subprime JD has received more than 2,000 hits in the last 3 hours which is completely unprecedented in the history of this blog. I would like to thank the editor for the exposure and for having the guts to blast the law schools in the manner which he did. I'm surprised that Subprime JD got mentioned as others have been scamblogging away for much longer. This shout out is dedicated to Hardknocks over at BIDER and the rest of the team.

Regardless, the message is always more important then the messenger. For those who get the chance to read the NYT piece, make sure you visit my affiliate bloggers so you can be truly informed as to the risks of attending law school. For those who are contemplating law school attendance it is imperative that you do your own independent research. You cannot, I repeat, cannot trust the bullshit data that is supplied by the law schools. These fine blogs of ours have a plethora of empirical and anecdotal evidence in support of the assertion that law school is a fucking scam. Ask Mr. Wallerstein how he feels about the 250k in student loan debt that he owes but has no conceivable means of paying off, absent a lottery ticket. Ask the thousands of recent law grads that are drowning in debt but have dismal job prospects. Shit, go to court and see all the "coverage counsel" aka monkey appearance attorneys earning 40k a year despite the fact that they have been in the legal game for over a decade.

Law schools, especially in the lower tier, primarily exist to provide the arrogant faculty members wwith extravagant and overpaid lifestyles, first and foremost the lifestyle of the "prestigious" law professor. Read the article and weep, bitchez.

By 2012 this law school tuition bubble will burst. Done deal. As we have stated time and time again, this is not the time to attend law school, especially if you have to utilize student loans which are nondischargeable in federal bankruptcy court per US Bankruptcy Code at 11 USC 523(a)(8). Don't let the law schools ruin your life as they have ruined the lives of thousands of other young people in this country.

Yours truly,



  1. Pay your bills. Fucking crybabies.

  2. Actually, Mr. Wallerstein seems to feel pretty good about it. Maybe reading comprehension is your problem, not law school scams?

  3. The "optimistic" data has been persisting for years, and it's given law students and the public a grossly distorted view of lawyer salaries & lifestyles. It's fueled a lot of public contempt & envy by convincing the public that we all earn $250k. If the public were told the truth, they probably wouldn't believe it. The law school tuition bubble has already burst. The market has been saying for ten years that we can do without many 3rd and 4th tier law schools. I'm a 14 year attorney, and I am fairly sure my legal career will be not worth pursuing in three years. I wouldn't rule out the possibility of spending the next ten years driving a truck.

  4. If the problem is manipulated & inflated employment data promulgated by law schools, what can we do to compile and disseminate more accurate statistics?

  5. anon @ 5:51 AM

    I have met and spoken with countless of other law graduates that are in similar financial situations such as Mr. Wallerstein. Some are deeply depressed, others are angry, and others display a bizarre cognitive dissonance which parallels the comments made by Mr. Wallerstein. One new attorney owing a similar 220k told me that "inflation" was going to eat away at his debt. Another said that the "government was going to bail him out". Surely its always good to have a good mix of optimism in one's personal forecast, but cognitive dissonance is not good for an individuals mental health. As a market geared individual, I firmly believe in mean reversion. The more a person denies a problem exists, the worse the correction will be when reality wacks them across the face.

    Bottom line is that its never good to live in a delusional reality. Statements to the effect of "the pickle doesn't exist" are strongly indicative of severe emotional distress.

  6. To the piece of trash who posted at 2:42 am,

    We are paying our bills. I make my affordable mortgage payment every month, make my student loans payments (double payments when I can meet that), and all of my other bills and obligations. Don't you worry about me, moron.

    The article was fair. However, it gave too much coverage to Idiot Michael Wallerstein/satisifed customer of Fourth Tier Thoma$ Jeffer$on Sewer of Law.

  7. Was Wallerstein really the best the NYT could do to find a subject to illustrate this matter? He seemed flighty / poor example of the serious students who face this crisis. The gentleman who said he was a ward of NY State - who then put himself through a JD/MBA program - would have made a far more interesting and substantive focus of the article. There is someone who started with no advantages and worked hard to be someone. I feel alot more compassion for him than anyone else in the story.

  8. Wallerstein was exactly who they should have covered. Did you see that he pretends that his debt will disappear??? the only thing he has to show for his debt is the worthless peice of paper and the "respect" of some ass clowns who are probably quite easily impressed.

    Wallerstein may have been this way his entire life, but I'm sure some sane people end up spouting this pablum when their confronted with the nondischarageable debt and no job prospects. its sorta like saying there are no athiests in a foxhole. you gotta believe to get through the day. but for goodness sake, don't mistake this for a good situation.

  9. Law,arts & entertainment business depends to a great extent on knowing d right people & less on meritocracy.So,no matter what the newspapers say about perils of outsourcing or the legal problems of doctors, I staunchly believe the medicine,technology & finance is where most of the students irrespective of their grades & d school, get to earn a decent living.In law or entertainment, only the top few or the well connected ones make the moolah.The rest either do temp paralegal stuff & work in country bars.

  10. I read with great interest the article. Not a lawyer. Never went to grad school. This is the first I have heard of this problem. But I have seen many of my friends who got PhD's go through similar awakenings. The parents of grad school age children, a college degree was a miraculous thing, mostly because no one had one. They taught their children all about education and nothing about the real world. The guy in the article sounds blithe and quite frankly, like he can't balance his checkbook. I struck out on my own after college and hit the jackpot with a small business. What I have witnessed in the years since is an large swathe of the overeducated children of well to do offspring act as if something is owed the. As if a law degree was the end and not the beginning. Surely, if I was buying a250K education I would have made it my business to find out the value of the degree. I hope for reform - but I'm not holding my breath. How about a class action suit against the schools? (and yes, I'm sure I'm not the first idiot to suggest this...)

  11. I went through the same thing in the early 1980s. I missed law review by about 3 spots, but that was enough to put me in the "nobody special" category and there were a lot of us. Eventually found a job in a small firm. Took about 9 months. Of course then, being unemployed was considered unusual and shameful so it took more than a financial toll. Living with mom & dad wasn't fun, either. Took a long time to stop feeling like a failure. And I was paid less than the secretaries. Truth be told, for at least the first year, I was worth less than the secretaries.

    Even back then, people were saying that the employment data were BS. But not as vocally.

    Eventually, after practicing law for 12 years, hating it, I escaped. Went to grad school, found a job in the field I wanted to work in, and never looked back.

    I have to say that I think Mr. Wallerstein has now made himself entirely unemployable. Not just the crappy attitude, but this:

    “Sometimes the banks will threaten to sue,” he says, “but one of the first things you learn in law school, in civil procedure class, is that it doesn’t make sense to sue someone who doesn’t have anything.”

    OK, so we all know that kind of thing is not what civ pro covers and we all learned that you get the judgment so the SOL doesn't run. The judgment is good for 12 years or more (depending on the state) and can be renewed. So someday, the guy has money, and you can collect...or sell the judgment. He wants to buy a house, he's got to pay you off when the title company sees the judgment...

    So basically, this guy went to a crappy law school and learned nothing, and then went on to make sure that every employer in the county will no that. He gets what he deserves.

  12. Very sad article. I'm looking at grad school myself (not in law) and am extremely leery about taking on any kind of student debt for fear of exactly the situation portrayed in this article. College used to be the ticket to a better life--so depressing to think of working so hard, achieving a degree you're proud of...and then folding clothes at Lululemon. There is nothing wrong with honest work but you don't go to grad school for retail jobs.

    From the article, it seems as if there's a huge window of profit for the law schools (expenses are low and it's relatively easy to increase income). Maybe the schools should start by reducing tuition, and professors' salaries.

  13. You said:"...that law school is a fucking scam".

    These days, it is more accurate to say colleges and universities are a fucking scam. With tuition increases of 700% in the last two decades, colleges and universities are hoovering income without delivering an improved product. The entire post secondary education market is in dire need of radical change before every graduate leaves with a diploma and a crushing debt load.

  14. @8:27 AM and @Jan 9, 10:19 AM:
    Grad school is a scam. Especially if you're pursuing a PhD and trying to get into academia in the arts or humanities.

    I used to work as an adjunct for 3 years in the arts, and can say that was THE worst job I have ever had. There is no job protection and the pay is shit.

    And as far as tenured professors raking in the dough, let's put that to rest, shall we? From my own experience, confirmed by a simple Google search, professors make on average from $53K to $100K. The high-end is as frequently true as it is in the law field: those who make it have probably been working for a long time, or are in a niche field in high demand. All that moolah from 5-10 years of grad school, followed by at least 3 years of a punishing publishing and committee schedule that leave very little time or interest in mentoring or teaching anyone.

    Meanwhile students who have shelled out a hefty tuition payment, feeling frustrated, demand that their adjunct is available to them 24/7, through e-mail and cell phone. And adjuncts oblige. Why? Because they know the administration will replace them if they refuse and students complain.

    As an adjunct, I taught a full course load for a well-respected private university (you know the name) and was paid $23K. The administration would drop subtle and not-so-subtle hints that I could be replaced any time. At one point I had a conversation with a Dean at another well-respected private university, who bluntly told me that undergrads are "the cash cows" and that grads (and professors) are not. Pity there was no undergrad there to overhear that conversation.

    The administration needs to be held responsible for this whole mess as they are the ones shaping it. Barring that, there really needs to be more regulation of this industry.

    As for me, I got out, and now have outdated corporate experience and few job prospects. Welcome to life after academe.

  15. Wouldn't it be great to get some kind of auditing on the stats that any school provides to USN for ranking purposes? Here's hoping ...

  16. The New York Times is a d-bag rag that is as obsolete as the yellow pages. Plenty of work for those that are competent.

  17. Thanks for a good read, better than most of the illiterate law school scam rants.

    What I'd like to know is with all the allegedly unemployed / underemployed attorneys out there, why could I not get as much as a return phone call on a beautiful class action lawsuit against a multi-million dollar publicly held corporation. I did all the research and assembled incredibly damning documentation supplied by the corporation itself. I contacted several firms but not one was interested. So I negotiated a settlement on my own - $700 on a $3500 appliance that doesn't perform as the manufacturer represented. The company sells thousands of them every year.

    My legal training amounts to reading a few John Grisham novels.

    There is plenty of money to be made out there. What is wrong with you people?

  18. anon @ 3:12 pm

    It isn't very wise to do a class action if you've never done one before. Its like a doctor straight out of med school conducting open heart surgery. In addition, the multi-million dollar company will employ the best and baddest lawyers money can buy.

  19. Mister No (to) it allJanuary 14, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    And parents, don't ever co-sign on a loan for your future little barister either. They will go after your assets too.

  20. When I was in undergraduate I was a dual major in pre-law/computer science. I knew I was going to grad school but couldn't decide which path I wanted to take. It wasn't until I saw a blog similar to this one which settled the MS/JD debate which I thought over for the last 2 years of undergrad.

    I went to a top tech school and graduated with my MS in Computer Science in May. At the time of graduation I had four job offers (right in the middle of the Great Recession) which I could leverage against each other and as a result I now have a job where I work 40 hours a week with a salary that rivals that of a Tier I school but with job security that BigLaw associates could only dream of. Had I not come across that blog I could very well have gone down the Tier III law school path and have been totally miserable.

    Keep up the great work, you and your fellow disgruntled members of the bar influenced at least one person not to totally ruin his life.

  21. @ 1/10/11 4:39PM post: do the math asshole. Anyone can get a job at McDonald's. But does that job even pay for the servicing of the student loan debt? Of course not.

  22. I'm not a law student but I agree there is a good bit of scamming going on in higher education today. The system is warped and built upon a number of unsound assumptions. Here is my blog on the topic and my suggestions for reform.

  23. I always say that the biggest beneficiaries of law schools are NEVER the law graduates, but the law firms and other employers of law graduates.

    Another beneficiary of law schools is the faculty and the administration running the law schools.

    In this capitalistic society, why would the law school industry in general make the law graduates the biggest beneficiaries, when the people running the law industry are law firms, employers of law graduates, and the faculty??

    As a corollary, college education in the US mainly benefits corporate America, who are the employers of college graduates. Education in America produces workers for corporate America, not citizens for the society.


    Michael is fine now.


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