Monday, March 11, 2013

Fine Wine, Egos and a Law School Applicant

Yesterday I went with my girlfriend to a wine tasting event. She works as a wine rep so sometimes on the weekends I go with her for company and to assist. It's pretty cool actually standing behind the desk pouring wine into the glass for the attendees. "Sir, may I try the Pinot Noir"LOL.

I took a break to enjoy the wonderful food (this wine tasting was at a Jewish Temple) and I met a pleasant 30 year old woman that said she was planning on going to law school. I still attempt to warn the youngsters about the perils of law school and the profession but she would be a tougher sell as she's been in the working world for at least 8 years.

She said that she was in design industry and that it's been brutal with long hours, low pay and constant beratement from upper management. Said she was sick of it and was ready to get into law, that she had a passion for it and was ready to work hard. When I began to advise against it she immediately interjected by stating "everyone has told me not to do it"and that "I've been in the working world long enough I know what the real world is like."At that point I knew there wasn't much to say. I changed the topic to what school she was going to she said some tier 4 with a 20% scholarship. I told her I went to a similar school starting in 2006 for 28k tuition and her eyes bugged out as her starting tuition is a massive $42,000.00. Unreal how tuition has surged by $14,000 in a matter of 7 years while employment prospects plummet. 14k increase on original tuition of 28k equates to a 50 PERCENT INCREASE IN TUITION. Has there been a 50 percent increase in the available jobs or entry level wages? The poor girl bemoaned the low pay in design (70k in secondary market was her last job). Wait until she sees entry level attorney positions offering $2,500.00 per month on top of her 150k student loan balance.

Interestingly enough this relatively attractive Jewish girl said that she has "sleepless" nights and "panic attacks" over the debt she will have to accrue in order to receive the vaulted JD. I told her you think it's bad now wait until the debt load is REAL and you have to pay that back with interest. At least now you don't have any debt." I informed her that I was fortunate to have family pay for half of my law school costs while I've personally forked over 50k in principal and interest expense. She stated that the cost is her biggest reservation. Perhaps this poor soul will avert near certain catastrophe.

I asked her if she minded working 60 plus hour weeks and informed her I was on my way out of law. She responded that she had worked 70 hour weeks in the past and that "successful attorneys have told me that I will be just fine." Don't know whether she was sending me a message i.e. I was a loser that couldn't cut it in law or whether she was simply stating what she was told. Nonetheless it was clear that her ego was being challenged and she simply had to prove to herself that SHE HAS WHAT IT TAKES TO MAKE IT IN LAW AND GOD DAMN IT SHE WILL!!

I recall becoming offended when people would tell me not to go into law. What, you don't think I'm smart enough, fucker? Yeah I know, I didn't get into a good undergrad nor did I get into a good law school, but I'm smart and dedicated and bla bla bla and due to family and societal pressure (plus not willing to deviate from my comfort zone) I went into a miserable and overly saturated field. 7 years ago I took the plunge. 7 years ago my gut screamed that this was not the best move and that there were other ways to make a decent living.  7 years later I'm ready to get the hell out. At least at the age of 30 it's not to late to start over and do something much more tolerable and enjoyable. Something that doesn't involve so many pissed off clients and deadlines and cutthroat saturation. I remember writing my first legal writing memo thinking to myself "holy shit this is atrociously boring" should have bailed at the end of my first semester. Could have would have should have. Only thing to do now is look forward and move on.

At least I was 24 when I started law school. This poor girl is 30 years old, still single (from what she said), is still somewhat attractive. Doesn't realize that her looks will plummet from this point forward as age and stress will get to her. Yet another woman puts her life on hold in pursuit of higher education and career dreams. Perhaps she feels undesirable now with her "lowly" 70k per year job. Little does she know how far more undesirable she will become with 4 more years added PLUS six figure debt. I almost wanted to scream "KEEP YOUR GOOD PAYING JOB, FIND A DECENT LOOKING JEWISH MAN, GET MARRIED HAVE YOUR BABIES AND LIVE PEACEFULLY EVER AFTER FOR FUCKS SAKES." Truth be told, if I wasn't a part of the wine event I probably would have said it.

High risk, high reward. No wonder so many narcissists are attracted and drawn into the legal profession. The glory of law with the victory of trial and the multi million dollar verdicts is what keeps the dream alive and well.  It's what kept me in the game as I too wanted the opportunity to shine in the court room and get that dizzying verdict. So enticing that society at large continues to be suckered by it's deceptive vanity. Surely many of you if you look deep down inside will see that the narcissist in you attracted you to the legal field. For those that see it's not the right move, if you can conquer your own worst enemy, that is the first step into making the right move for your life. It truly is amazing what some difficult and real introspection can do for your life. I find that I have been humbled by this experience and my once high expectations have been brought down to earth. People that I once sneered at to myself I now look at with awe and respect as they buy their first homes. Should have listended to all those attorneys that told me to stay away as they obviously knew more than me at the time. Of course, with my pride now dashed into pieces, it is apparent that I'm much more willing to lend an attentive ear to their proclamations.

Hope you all have a good week. Be back soon.



  1. People who are married to the very idea of going to law school do not want to be informed with any facts. Those lost fools simply want you to affirm their dream of becoming a "big time" lawyer. If she starts law school this Fall, she will be at least 34 when she graduates with her TTT degree.

    Does she not realize that law is a highly stratified "profession"? If she does not come out making $160K, then she will almost certainly end up earning $35K-$50K per year. With massive student debt, that will not stretch far.

    At this point, I simply cringe when working adults walk away from decent jobs with solid benefits, in order to chase their stupid dream. Because drafting, i.e. cutting and pasting, wills and internal memos, is so exciting, right?! Working with broke-ass clients with extensive criminal histories will only appeal to sociopaths.

    When I see parents set aside their job, I want to throw a feral cat on their face. Why should your young kids suffer, so that you can finally pursue your dumb goal of being a toilet lawyer?

    AGE DISCRIMINATION exists in this field, to a greater extent than in most industries. I understand why some companies don't actively seek 55 year old men. However, law firms do not want you, if you are 30+. They want young, impressionable minds - especially if you are a sycophant with little to no work experience.

    If this particular woman is not smoking hot - and it sounds as if she is merely attractive - at age 34, then the best that she can hope for is to become a toilet lawyer. Again, there is always someone younger, prettier, and hungrier.

  2. Subprime, if you have any contact info for her, send her to me and/or by blog, or Crux of Law, or OTLSS. Anything. For the love of God. She is making the exact mistake so many (including me) have made.

  3. It's getting harder and harder to sympathize with these lemmings. Well, you fought the good fight and tried to give her a little dose of reality, not much else you can do.

    I almost want to say she'll get what she deserves, but then I remember the TTT admins and professor shysters who live large while their students' lives get ruined.

  4. The thing is, before you start law school you literally have no idea about what law school or the practice of law is like.

    In the mid-90's, when I was 22 or 23 I had a number of "informational" interviews with lawyers.

    Thinking back, they more or less told the same thing everyone is saying now (with a little less urgency-- this was before the 1998 law making all student loan debt exempt from bankruptcy).

    I got accepted to a T14 and immediately forgot everything I had been told.

  5. It's hard talking someone out of law school. Every lawyer I knew told me not to go, and I didn't listen. Everyone thinks he or she is going to be the exception - happy, rich, fulfilled. I think in this woman's case, it's a matter of "the grass is always greener," and unfortunately she won't know until it's too late how wrong she is.

  6. There is an old parable (as retold by James Cameron in "Aliens") premised on "the Island of the Cannibals". Survivor comes back from Island of Cannibals. Tells everyone not to go. They ignore him and go anyway because they're curious, they are arrogant about survival, and they just know they will overcome. They go to the Island and end up on dinner table. Just human nature.

  7. Notice how expensive the tuition is now. I don't know people afford it? And in most cases there's very little difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. There used to be a huge gap between in-state and out-of-state tuition. What a rip off!

  8. Subprime,

    I've been trying to warn 0L's myself. At times even writing 5 page e-mails to someone who asked for advice, and promptly went again my advice.

    The first one was this girl who I met at a bar. She was an African-American girl with STUNNING looks. Standing at least 5-6 with about 105LBS on her with amazing curves. I somehow mentioned that I just passed the bar and was looking for work (hopeful at the time). She said she wanted to go to law school and that she went to a local college (probably about...8th best in GA) and had a 3.9 GPA.

    Not wanting to ruin a good night thus far (and my chances I suppose) I did not warn her about law school. The next day, I felt intense guilt but she thankfully contacted me and began to ask questions. So I wrote a full-blown treatise linking her to Nando's blog as well as every single relevant article Nando's ever linked.

    Unfortunately, she said Mercer was her school of choice and that she's heard all the negatives already. She also said that she's dreamt of being a lawyer all her life and was excited at the opportunity.

    Oh well, I waved the white flag there.

    Next, there was a girl who had just graduated from the local crap community college (that just turned into a 4 year school few years back) and was barely getting by. She was 28(!) and trying to make something happen with her life. She said she just got accepted into Cooley and was gonna go.

    I again, showed Nando's page and told her everything about my own demise. How I am now 28 years old. How I used to make 50K working for a tutoring agency. How I went to the best public school in GA with a full ride and zero debt. And now I was praying to land a 40k job with 170k in debt.

    Then she looked at me with this skeptical look. I suppose I ruined what she thought was her "only way out" of her crap life. She said she was willing to work hard.

    I honestly don't know what to do. The thing about Nando's site is, one of the things he mentions (and he honestly and objectively does) is that as a Top 5% graduate or so at a TTT you can land a nice job, and I think people only choose to look at that portion and think "hey, I'll work hard."

    Oh well. Just wanted to share that I had the same experience.

    1. Did it ever occur to you that it was perhaps the referring them to Nando's blog that hurt your case for convincing?

      Why not send them to something less trashy, like ITLSS?

      While the CONTENT of Nando's blog is accurate, the PRESENTATION is off-putting. It's something to be read as a third or fourth resource.

    2. I did think the pictures hurt his credibility and advised to only look at thr arguments.

      I also linked to LS Transparency.

      Man I hope they ended up choosing a diff career path.

  9. Transgender Law Schools:

  10. @ John,

    The problem is far more acute. I graduated at the top of my class and have no debt. I have a decent 6-figure job in a high cost of living area. I am very lucky.

    I tried warning a lemming a few days ago. He was planning on going to the same school I did; I told him this was a major mistake. I tried to tell him about my decent job so he would understand I wasn't someone who was totally bitter. Nothing penetrated. He started to make jibes at me for not having a BL job. I told him those jobs are very unstable, and I tried to remind him that I had good grades, minimal debt, and a decent job. (This guy was going to have alot of debt). Again, nothing. He gave me the look that he knew better and I was just a whiny loser.

    The problem most people fail to grasp is that things are only going to get worse; much worse. Top 5% from a TTT isn't going to cut it. Just getting a BL job isnt going to cut it. As the market gets more and more saturated with desperate lemmings, the threshold is going to keep increasing, and this field is going to get more and more binary.

    People have to get out of the "education and prestige" mantra, which has destroyed so many lives. People have to start thinking outside the box or they will truly experience the hell of this profession.

    Even those of us who have the temporary lottery ticket know are time is coming...

  11. @ Subprime

    It is a brazen lie any student of color can attend any school they want to attend


  12. Notice how expensive the tuition is now. I don't know people afford it? And in most cases there's very little difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition.

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