Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Law is for Losers

The title of this post isn't just an accurate description of the type of person who ends up in our august "profession". It's also the internet moniker of one of the most hilarious bloggers to ever rip into the law school industrial complex.

Law is 4 Losers (aka Skadden Farts) has had a number of different web presences in the five years since graduating law school. His latest incarnation is as the author of Big Debt, Small Law, a site that skewers both the law school industry and the New York City legal community (particularly the small law toilet firms and big law document review sweat shops). The blog lay dormant for a few months, but it is now back with a hilarious look at the after-scammer scavengers over at Solo Practice University.

I assume many of my readers have already taken a look at the new post, but if you haven't, it's definitely worth your time. If you like Esq. Never (or probably even if you don't), you'll love Big Debt. (Feel free to think of Esq. Never as the poor man's/law school grad's Big Debt, Small Law.)

Also, take a look at Law is 4 Loser's profile. He went to a tier 2 school and graduated during the boom times with a top 1/3rd class rank after 1L year and a top 15% rank at graduation. His reward? Five years of alternating between NYC's illustrious personal injury chop shops and handling doc review for the big boys in their infamous boiler rooms. Remember, study hard, kids!

Sadly, Law is 4 Loser's road to destruction led through one of the most depressed locations in which you could possibly live this side of Serbia: Newark, New Jersey. Like my dad queried when I once ordered the fried shrimp platter at a rest stop Bob's Big Boy, "Man, what were you thinking!?"

Now, of course, I can't get too high and mighty. After all, I'm in pretty much the same situation except for the fact that my tier two diploma apparently doesn't even qualify me for a document review position. Nonetheless, by attending a school in a much nicer location, at least I had a window seat on my plane ride to career perdition.

Seton Hall, L4L's alma matter, suffers from some other problems. For one thing, I had never really heard of Seton Hall before I began learning more about law schools. The only thing I knew about it was that at one point one of dorms burned down and a number of students tragically died when they failed to evacuate in time. While that's probably a good analogy for what going to law school is like, I'm not sure that's for what you want your institution to be known.

Furthermore, when you compare SH's career statistics with my school's CSO's numbers, you'd think that my 2TT employed Honest Abe himself - and trust me, that's saying something.

For instance, Seton Hall has the audacity to actually claim that students who work in NON-legal fields make at least an average of over $75k a year (Class of 2007). Apparently, the class of 2008 did even better with those entering the business world making a median starting salary of $125k a year.

Do most MBA programs even boast starting salaries that high? Unless SH graduates an inordinate number of students who end up becomimg international arms dealers or high end escorts, I'm pretty incredulous.

Seton Hall Law: Where your most difficult decision at graduation will be whether you want to make six figures at a big law firm or become a corporate tycoon.

No wonder tuition is over $40k a year.

In any event, welcome back, Law is 4 Losers. I'm glad we can once again add your voice to the anti-law school choir. I'm sorry that you have to toil away in a dungeon, and I'm particularly sorry that you had start your legal career in a city where Seton Hall is one of only the many tragedies to beset it.

In other law blog news, please welcome the Jobless Juris Doctorate to the scene. She has a great post with this choice quote from New York Law School's Dean Matasar:

“We own our students' outcomes," Matasar said at the AALS program. "We took them. We took their money. We live on their money. … And if they don't have a good outcome in life, we're exploiting them. It's our responsibility to own the outcomes of our institutions. If they're not doing well ... it's gotta be fixed. Or we should shut the drat place down. And that's a moral responsibility that we bear in the academy.”

What? Haven't the law school apologists informed us that graduates have gotten what they deserve. Does this Dean actually have more sympathy for us than those folks who graduated in 1972 (and dagnabbit if they could find a job so should we)? Maybe so, but until he's willing to make good on his suggestion to place the "Going out of Business" sign on the NYLS, I'm not about to sing his praises.

Readers, please don't be misled. The sorry state of the legal market isn't confined to the greater New York metro area. No, Esq. Never attended law school away from the "Capital of the World", and he any many of his former classmates are currently weighing their options as to whether to accept first year associate positions at Baskin Robbins or the Honey Baked Ham store.


  1. In L4L's latest post, he described the JD as a "credential that's getting exponentially worse by the day." If a Tier 2 grad cannot get a doc review gig, that has to be a sign of a devalued degree and the times we live in!

    Four years ago, I graduated from an ABA-provisionally accredited school (unranked) and I was able to get into doc review. The doc review squad I was in featured graduates from Hamline and William Mitchell, the area TTT's. I knew of nobody from the University of Minnesota Law School in the Thomson West doc review basement. I lasted long enough to see the new recruits of the 2006 class, and there were two University of Minnesota graduates on my team. One left within a week because he was utterly humiliated. "International Law Journal and Moot Court, why did you fail me?" The following summer, a Harvard grad began clicking away in the mini cubicles.

    I'll take pictures and upload them to the blog of my former workstations. You have to see it to believe it.

  2. Thanks for the shout out, Esq. Never. I did document review while in law school and it was horrible. One of the guys I worked with had been a "lawyer" for 3 years, coming in and clicking. It was a small firm and he stayed because they gave him an office after 3 years of clicking away. He's still clicking...Too depressing for words.

  3. JJD has a very funny site, with scathing analysis of the crooks. I never worked in doc review, and hopefully I die before I ever have to sink to this depth.

    Still, the click monkey stories make me laugh and make my knuckles turn white at the same time.


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