Monday, December 14, 2009

Northeastern Law School Lied, This Guy's Career Died

Remember Northeastern Dean, Emily Spieler's comments to the National Law Journal in which she cavalierly dismissed our complaints about law school? If you missed them, here they are for your convenience:

Northeastern University School of Law Dean Emily Spieler said prospective students should be aware of the potential downsides of law school, but should not take the Internet-based law school bashing at face value.

"The Internet is an egalitarian and a flat form of communication," she said. "That has its values and its negatives. It concerns me because I think it gives a lot of voice to deeply unhappy people."

Those who are satisfied with their decision to attend law school are less likely to share their experiences online, and anti-law school Web sites offer a skewed view, she said. Additionally, those sites tend to focus squarely on the availability of large law firm jobs and don't address the broad array of public interest and nonlegal jobs open to law school graduates, she said.

Apparently, "unemployednusl", a poster on JD Underground respectfully disagrees. You can read his awe inspiring rant in full at JDU (Dec 13 at 3:37 PM).

I've provided an excerpt for your reading pleasure:

The "deeply unhappy comment" strike a personal chord with me, because the first time I voiced frustration with the career services office - two years after graduation - I was told that they did not know what they could do to assist me, and that I should speak to the local branch of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. As if that would help me procure employment. Again, I think it all falls under their rubric of "people who don't want to work in public interest are wrong; there is something wrong with them." I am quite serious in stating the above. The fact that I am trying to find a law firm or corporate job to service my $200,000 (and climbing) in student loans, interest, and penalties is viewed with disgust by the school. A real Northeastern graduate would be willing to make the financial sacrifice to work pro bono for the rest of their life in Dorchester, Detroit, or preferably some third-world country, because that really makes for a good byline. Nothing cheers up a 1960's hippie-cum-law school administrator like a pretty white kid from Greenwich or Weston telling people in Sub-Saharan Africa or Indonesia how they should be running their societies. God forbid they pull themselves up by their own bootstraps or figure things out by themselves. Where would they be without the support of clean-cut WASPS? What unctuous crap.

This view is enhanced by a consistent and very vocal minority of the student body who parrot the administration's perspective that every single person at the school should work in the public interest. Mind you, only 12-15% of a given graduating class go into the public interest. Interestingly, many of the most vocal public interest folk (in my class, at least) came from pretty serious money, lived in luxury apartments/condos on the waterfront, Beacon Hill, or in Back Bay, and drove to school in BMWs and Audis. In their three years of law school, they spend absolutely no time whatsoever in the poorer neighborhoods of Boston, whose residents they claim to champion. In fact, I rather doubt they incurred any student loans at all...

If I could find an entry-level $30k job at some company somewhere, I would gladly take it, even though my minimum student loan payments are about $26k after taxes. There is not one entry-level position at a MA law firm on the school's job board. NOT ONE. Suffolk and New England School of Law have such positions listed, even if they are at shockingly low wages (think $25k). What they do have listed are a stenographer salesperson listing, a two-year unfunded fellowship in frigging Liberia, an attorney listing for Pangea3 in Mumbai, and an attorney/assistant position for a solo in Tiverton, RI, which is a lower-middle class suburb of Fall River, MA, a destitute mill city of 90,000 at the mouth of Narragansett Bay. Plus an incredibly random smegma of public interest positions in Arizona, Florida, Alaska, DC, and basically anywhere except Massachusetts, where the vast majority of grads take the bar.

Am I deeply unhappy? [Indeed] I am! I had no great shakes before law school - as a graduate of a non-Williams/Amherst/Bowdoin/Middlebury NESCAC institution (the only ones with decent career services and loyal, high-placed alumni), I was in the midst of discovering how useless a liberal arts education really is in a city of research universities like Boston. However, even with the variety of crap retail and sales positions I held, I could make my loan payments. Today, I look at my future, and I need to make about $60k to spend as little as half my after-tax salary to Access and Nelnet. I have literally ten times the student loan debt that I did post-undergrad. I live in my parents' house with no health insurance, no car, and basically no hope. I have no expectation of making even $30k in my first job, whether in the legal profession or not. I feel successful if an employer I have applied to takes the time to send me a rejection letter, which happens maybe one time out of fifty. Informational sessions done as favors aside, I have not had a legitimate job interview in about a year and a half. Given that I took a spate of corporate and transactional courses, cannot afford malpractice insurance, and live in one of the most overlawyered states in the country, the idea that I might set up a virtual law office or troll the county courthouses for DUI's is risible. Every time my parents juggle credit cards or take money from their 401k's so that I can buy food, I want to vomit. I would try to get a job at Best Buy or something, except that I am "overqualified" and my student loan payments would drown me. My running shoes are four years old, and my glasses prescriptions are seven, but I cannot bear to ask my folks to help me get new ones. I screwed up something in my left shoulder really badly this summer, and still have not told them, because they cannot afford to send me to physical therapy, but would anyway. I have trouble sleeping without downing a few drinks - when I don't, I am usually awake until four or five in the morning, doubled over with fear and regret. Living with my parents in the middle of expensive metro-Boston suburbia, I can't even remember the last time I talked to someone of the opposite sex, much less had any sort of relationship. Which is of little consequence, because the salary I need to make to support a home and a family is far more than I ever have a reasonable expectation to make. Call it a buck-fifty, at least.

Wow. If Dean Spieler ran over this guy's mother on his birthday, I wouldn't be able to feel more sympathy for him.

Sounds like he's really making the most of those public interest and non-legal job opportunities you tout, Dean.

So, let's see, Dean Spieler pushes a radically liberal law school program, but hates free speech that affects NUSL's bottom line. She forces her students to fight for radical moon-bat crusades, but is dismissive of complaints about the destruction her and her colleagues have wrought on thousands of law school graduates. She boasts about the great public interest and non-legal careers available to graduates while simultaneously (along with her career services flunkies) throwing this guy (and likely others) under the bus to enjoy a life of debt and financial ruin.

Northeastern Law: Where you're not a REAL liberal until you experience a life of poverty first hand!


  1. Glory to free speech. The underground resistance against the law school industry grows- a network of hope, laughter and freedom.

  2. The career services office are completely and utterly useless. I have heard first hand accounts from employers trying to post jobs and the office completely ignoring them.

  3. For those of us who went to law school with this guy, we can assure you that this so-called “awe inspiring rant” is anything but. During his entire career at NUSL, this guy made an annoying habit of posting similar pathetic and rambling woe-is-me stories to the NUSL message board. He spent most of his time complaining of how terrible things were, and never once offered to become part of the solution as opposed to giving a play-by-play call of the problem. His continuation to do so even after law school is shameful. Please don’t encourage this behavior by applauding him.

  4. I agree with the last comment. I know who you are as well. Whining your way through law school and then whining your way through finding a job after law school solves nothing. I too had trouble finding a job after law school, I worked as a temp for $13/hr (not a legal temp, a receptionist temp) and had $1300 a month in student loan payments to keep up with. I racked up $10K in credit card debt keeping up with bills. I expanded my job search to Worcester, Northern and Western Mass and behold! Took me almost a year, I found a great small firm for a decent salary and my cost of living is way less than it was in Boston (like $750/month for a nice 2BR). Oh and because I work for a small firm, I have ten times the courtroom experience of biglaw associates with the same years under their belt. Good thing I didn't quit looking and start blogging all my troubles away. Stop with the "woah is me" tale and step up your game.

  5. Not sure to whom that last comment was addressed. If it was me, as I've mentioned, I recognize that it's a long process - in which I've engaged - to find a job. I, however, don't feel like putting in that effort in order to be an attorney. I'm currently putting in the same effort to find a non-attorney position.

    As for the other fellow (re: both comments), I have no way of evaluating his complaints beyond what he has said.

    I usually don't call out individual law schools, but in this case, the Northeastern dean's dismissive attitude and distortions about finding public interest and non-legal employment was absurd enough to warrant such a response.

  6. Why can't I read the original rant? The link is broken. Could you repost?

  7. It works for me. Here's the direct URL:

  8. I keep getting an unavailable/server error message. Oh well. Thanks for trying.

  9. E-mail me esqnever at hotmail dot com, and I'll send you the whole rant.

  10. Welcome to America. This is a third world country now. Time to toughen up.

  11. I don't know whether they're evil sisters or what. But Fannie Mae and Sallie Mae are definitely evil relatives. This law school's degree will ensure you a rewarding job that may not actually exist! These low, low mortgage payments will somehow purchase a house you cannot afford!

    The good news? A sheriff's deputy will kick you out of that house but no one can take away that law degree. And a neglected house crumbles to dust but the worst lawyer is still called "counsel."

  12. Yeah, but I would gladly let Sallie Mae repossess my degree and license if it meant satisfying my debt.

  13. I do feel for this guy. I do.

    After May graduation, it took me until just two weeks ago to get the job of my choice, rather than settling for something less. Of course, I will have to move across the country to take it.

    But, anyone applying to NEU knows their reputation. I knew it. That's why I didn't go there. It is no surprise. I still feel shafted by the law school hype, but Northeastern really is a special case.

  14. Successful NUSL StudentDecember 18, 2009 at 7:41 PM

    I also went to law school with the complainer here. The other comments posted about him are completely accurate. Frankly, the man who posted this rant isn't worthy of being hired anywhere. I know that if he applied where I work I would make sure he didn't get hired.


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