Tuesday, July 23, 2019

What Happened to JD Underground (JDU)?

At about this time a decade ago, I had recently graduated from law school and was on the cusp of taking what would be both the most intense and the most meaningless exam of my life (my state bar exam). Soon thereafter, I would come to the full realization that my wayward decision to attend law school had obliterated both my career prospects and my financial solvency before I had even celebrated my 30th birthday.

To memorialize this occasion, my plan was to author one final post as a retrospective of what has changed in the law school universe over the past 10 years.  One of those major changes, however, has been the closure of many of the resources, which once were required reading for those interested in the wayward practices of the law school cartel.

As this present site is only rarely updated, it draws very little traffic on its own. In the past, I have relied on two outside sources to generate views for any new posts: Nando’s Third Tier Reality and JD Underground. After nearly a decade of heroically profiling every ABA school (and their corrupt practices), Nando both stopped blogging and inexplicably removed TTR from the web. 

Likewise, about a month ago, JD Underground (JDU) – the subject of this post - met a similar fate. It would not make sense to spend time writing a retrospective on the law school scam that nobody will read, but as probably one of the few former JDUers with the SEO (or at least the web presence) to attract a few eyeballs, I thought I’d instead use my final posting to address JDU’s closure for those who wonder what happened.

To offer a full explanation, I think it’s necessary to give a little history, but for those who want the condensed version (or TLDR, as the kids say these day): There was some internal strife among JDU posters which led the administrator to just shelve the whole site.

If you want the longer story, read on, but please note that I was just an infrequent poster and not an insider. There may be more to the story, which I welcome you to share in the comments. Everything disclosed below is from my (limited) perspective.


JDU began in 2007 (shortly after I enrolled in law school). My understanding is that it replaced a site called JD Jive, which also served as an online forum for disaffected lawyers and law students. It featured a no-frills interface for the aforementioned attorneys and students to share war stories and gripe about their circumstances. 

JDU wasn’t – strictly speaking – an anti-law school message board. It did feature some threads poking fun at delusional 0L’s (non yet enrolled students), who thought they would easily be able to repay six figure student loan balances after law school. There were, however, also discussions about bar exam prep, law firm reviews, and other more mundane matters of legal practice.

I believe I checked out the site once or twice while in law school. In my youthful foolishness, I dismissed much of what I read. I assumed that even if things were as bad as JDU sometimes claimed, I would at least be able to take on doc review work and easily satisfy my loans and move on. 

I became more of an avid reader of the site after graduating from law school. I think I mostly relied upon it for information on when my state’s bar results had historically been released. Once I completed the bar, and it slowly sunk in just how perilous my situation was, I started taking more of the critical comments to heart. Moreover, several of the recession wave of scam blogs began positing links directly from JDU. The truth had been revealed: I was just a chump the law school cartel had bamboozled and then shuttled out into the post-law school abyss. 

Soon thereafter (with little else to do), I joined the anti-law school brigade with this blog. Like the others, I used JDU as a resource to generate traffic. It was through these links that a number of reporters from various publications found my blog (and the others) and contacted me. These early articles helped bring the scam to the attention of a wider community.

As mentioned, at the time, JDU wasn’t purely an anti-law school resource. The founder (who went by “admin”) always seemed a little ambivalent about the cause, and there were other posters who commonly challenged the scam blog movement with quips about “whining” and “entitlement”. 

JDU had a bit of a reputation of being a “wild west” forum where insults flew easily and caustic comments were the norm. I can’t recall the exact evolution of the site, but eventually there was an off-topic section with fewer law school-oriented comments. I think at one point there was a medical grad sub forum as well as special fora with topics such as dating.

One of the reasons why my memory is a little sketchy regarding this era was that as I started to repair my life, I spent less and less time on JDU. I may have only visited it a handful of times between 2012 and early 2015.

Starting in 2015, I found myself in a position where I had a little more time, and I was curious about some of the developments in the anti-scam movement. By this time, almost anyone who wasn’t a self-interested party in the law school cartel recognized something was rotten in the system. JDU was no exception. Almost all the apologists were gone. (Even the once rabidly pro-law school Top Law School Forums were willing to listen to reason.)

Nonetheless, JDU had initiated some reforms. The law school forum could no longer could be used as a battering ram against the scam. If someone asked a question about going to law school, posters had to take care to be very gentle should they want to dissuade that person. Standard anti-law school terms like Third Tier Toilet (TTT) could no longer be used. Bans were also frequently employed against violators. (This may have contributed to the site’s eventual decline in activity.)

Except in the rare cases when I had a new article to share or there was something about the scam bloggers I wanted to address, I used an alias other than “Esq. Never”. That said, almost all my posts were about the law school scam (school closings, law school lies, etc.). I weighed in a few times about the Dan Markel case, but I almost never interjected on non-legal subjects and tried to avoid US political discussions.

The Off-Topic section was the home for most of these exchanges. While I never really contributed, I’ll concede there could be some amusing threads. There was one character named “George Constanza”, who like his namesake, apparently drew the short straw in life and really hated the modern social scene. Another guy posted as “BizzyBone123”, who pretended (?) to be some type of Cuban rapper. On the less amusing side, a poster named “Myth” apparently was killed in a tragic accident and was memorialized in a few threads on the site.

That JDU had attracted such a colorful cast of characters probably helped lead to its downfall. The acrimony really dialed up on JDU (as it did across the country) after the 2016 election. Admin was kind enough to create a political subforum to shelter the rest of us from the brawls. (There was also the “Dome” which served a similar purpose in keeping the more salacious and offensive exchanges sequestered.)

Towards the end, the two remaining sub-fora: Politics and “Dome” eventually were merged into the Off-Topic section. It seemed like this was done because the site was less lucrative than it used to be. There were only a handful of active threads on the law forum and OT wasn’t that active either. Maybe the better economy had produced less law related griping and social media had undermined the reach of such a forum, but regardless, admin became convinced things needed to change

The Fall

The merger, however, turned the OT section into a near free for all. The rivalries from the dome spilled over and the animosity between Trump supporters and detractors helped fuel the contentious atmosphere even more.

On Friday, June 14 (2019), JDU shut down for good. On the OT section, there were a number of posts wishing everyone else goodbye. One thread allegedly had the inside scoop. Apparently, there was an “offline” e-mail group among some of the regulars. Tensions were boiling over in that arena, and one user was threatening legal action over some things that had been disclosed about her on JDU.

There had been warnings about this earlier on. Admin had asked other posters not to comment on discussions related to the e-mail chain. Nonetheless, it seems that given the decline in revenue and the threat of legal troubles, it wasn’t worth it for admin to continue to maintain the site for the benefit of its dwindling following.

Presently, the site just redirects to a generic page with some spammy advertising links. It’s not clear if admin just gave up the domain or if he still owns it but parked it in order to extract a little revenue from those said links. In either event, it seems unlikely the site will come back online.


As mentioned, JDU served an important role in warning potential law students of the perils of going the JD route. It also was an important hub for other sites to grow and to connect mainline journalists with the scam bloggers. There’s no doubt that it helped propel the movement even as it was at times bogged down by law school shills, goofiness, and rivalries that may have brought the community down.

For the time being, the law school scam battle is in a d├ętente (neither advocates nor opponents seem to be very active). It will be interesting to see what happens when the next recession hits. Sadly, JDU won’t be a force during that stage, but at least it was able to witness the fall of a few ABA accredited schools. Perhaps, the next revolution will make more use of ascending social media tools.

Unlike JDU, Esq. Never will remain up (for whatever it’s worth) until it’s deleted by Blogger. Like JDU, however, I personally plan to end my internet involvement in commenting on the scam. I know I’ve been in the periphery of the periphery (who knows if anyone will even read this post), but it’s been a decade: I’m glad to see some changes, and maybe there will be more, but on this, I agree with admin, there comes a time to just officially close things down.

Best wishes to anyone who has followed the sporadic postings throughout the years, and for anyone considering law school, please read some of the earlier posts and be very, very cautious in making a decision that can literally upturn your entire life.



  1. Hey thanks for the update. As my handle states I'm the father of a law school graduate and I've been following JDU, Inside the Law School scam and other sites since probably 2008. I was an avid reader and sometimes poster to JDU. Sorry to see it go, it has some pretty funny moments. Hopefully it helped some kids make the right decision about law school.

    Thanks for the update.

  2. Thanks for the update. Also been following JDU on and off since 2007 and had been wondering what happened and whether it was coming back.

  3. It was a long downhill slog.


  4. Are there any replacement forums, it served a purpose?

  5. Unfortunately, no. Even during it's prime, there never really was a similar site. The comments sections of the scam blogs and mainline sites like ATL served a comparable purpose, but most of those sites are dormant or no longer permit comments. Some of the mainline law boards have become more realistic about law school outcomes, but they are focused primarily on prospective students. JDU was one of a kind.

  6. I've followed this blog over the years (sporadically) and was an active poaster, well written article. The thing I miss about it is the actual friendships, talked to those folks more than some of my IRL friends. It was a community of those scammed (that ended up mostly alright when it was all said and done) RIP

  7. As the Greatest JDU Poster Known..(The "GPK") who used to go to war with lawland shills like uncle admin, I am saddened that there will be one less source for future lawland lemmings to get the truth about the scam that is the so called legal "profession". God bless! The John Bungsolaphagus.

  8. I stumbled on to JDU in 2011 because I was doing research about the
    current state of affairs re the profession and law school stuff. Not being in the field of law myself, my interest was triggered by a tragedy in the family -- my brother-in-law, a practicing attorney of about ten years, committed suicide -- tbc

  9. Thank you very much for posting this. I read jdu for about ten years, but much more rarely the last five. The weird animosities among some of the posters ruined it. Glad they got what they wanted, sad that I and the rest of us no longer have the place, though.

  10. https://web.archive.org/web/20190414155129/http://www.jdunderground.com/law/

  11. https://web.archive.org/web/20180907085518/http://www.jdunderground.com/pol/

  12. I didn't really participate as an OP until Trump was elected and at the time it was in the OT forum which was open to anyone that cared to post comments -- when Admin realized how intense the back and forth was becoming he opened up a new forum for political discussions which I believe became the most popular forum except maybe for the Dome where it was a free for all with no censorship -- I was hooked on JDU/pol -- the rabid Trump supporters on there inspired me to come up with a canned response which I would drop in their thread discussions when I felt like crapping on their obnoxious Trump fawning --
    THAT'S MY TRUMP -- He's a rolling sh!t show / But no matter what he says / I'm with him all the way / cause he loves the USA / and that what makes my day / hey!! that's my Trump / I'll kill you if you diss him / God bless and have a nice day --
    Hey more cowbell!! Hit it like you mean it Bubba --

  13. Back in the day, not long after the site started, I used to post as "Katie." Then the place started filling up with trolls. I tried posting as "Poverty Stricken" to see if a non-female name would draw less hostility and - interesting reaction - the trolls liked me a LOT better as "Poverty Stricken" than as "Katie." I eventually gave up posting (excessive trolls) but I'm still friends with some of the people I met there. I wonder what became of some of the others. Whatever happened to iElephant and JohnJohnPlanecrash and the others of that era?

  14. I did reached your blog searching what happened to JDU. With Nando out of the movement, it was only time for JDU to be offline. I am reading your blog articles at least; good work on it.

    Besides, Reddit and Quora are in the process or have already replaced smaller board websites.

  15. Thanks for clarifying what happened to JDU. Earlier today I was reading higher education bubble articles and wondered about JDU, only to go to the site to find that it had died. I wonder if something like it might find new life on a forum like Reddit. There is a https://www.reddit.com/r/lawschoolscam/ but it's pretty dead. I just checked and someone created a https://www.reddit.com/r/JDUnderground/ but it's dead, too.

    I used to blog at Fluster Cucked, but like you, eventually moved on in life. However, my views have not changed, only hardened. Hopefully some new bloggers will pick up the torch to fight the Law School Scam.

  16. Thanks for the posting this. I was a regular lurker on JDU and wondered what happened to it. I never even went to the Dome or Off Topic.

  17. JDU had a few flaws but what took it out was the lack of any real and relevant discussion. It was kind of like the movie Airplane from the 80's in that while laughed a couple times I wouldn't watch it again. JDU simply ran out of an audience. Hey good run though.


    It's [still] coming,...bitchez!!!!!!!!!!11

  19. Thanks for the update - I was wondering what happened.

    But yes, in recent years the topics had degenerated considerably. I understand that people need to vent and it was good for that. But too many people used it to just be provocative without any relevant content. When that happened, those of us who used to be regulars found better things to do and became infrequent posters, thus compounding the problem. Similar things have happened to other message boards.

    1. I had the same experience. Trolls and people who seemed motivated only to burn people-- and violate anonymity--ran me off. And too, life got better. A smart, fun group when things were good, though. RIP JDU. -texlaw

  20. posted as marlon, & kenco.

  21. I'm going to really miss JDU. I've been visiting the website for about a decade. I've found some of the discussions very interesting. This is a sad day indeed.

  22. Just found this post. I posted fairly frequently between 2011 and roughly 2017. The site shifted further towards being a social club for mentally ill internet forum people. It became filled with alt right social theories and the line between "shitpoasting" and "earnest" posting became blurred. A handful of people that became obsessed with posting on there, just started dominating the content. All of this ran people away, and eventually the lack of new blood just made it fade away.

  23. End of an era. I think it's widespread of what a scam law school is. Fortunately after a wasted decade I ended up losing 200 pounds and then enrolled in medical school, which is awesome. It's like law school but with employment prospects. I'm hanging with 20 years olds. Fortunately, I'm looking at no loans at the end or this wouldn't be possible. I feel really lucky I escaped. Also, my classmates think it's really cool having a JD amongst them.

  24. went on a bunch after graduating from my TTT, definitely a source of entertainment the first few years out of school trying to keep my self from falling into depression based on my salary and Ls debt. As life got better job-wise after about 3 years or so, stopped going on, probably around 2011. Came across this after trying to randomly see what was going on at JDU. RIP

  25. Posted as Frank_Dux and then OriginalFrankDux. Was fun while it lasted but then got too busy with my practice and stopped posting. Good times.

  26. I started as a poster in 2009, back when taking the bar exam. I was a regular poster until the last six months when the board became dominated by a small group of agitators. At its height (circa 2012-2013) I was closer to these anonymous people than my own friends.

  27. Admin had a good thing going but he scared away the best and brightest. He got squirlelly when he realized none of the "prestige" of law would not rub off on him. No, he got the bitter unvarnished mudpeople of law. It was never an audience he courted. Thus, he banned words he didn't like and tried to make the site upmarket. Guess, he couldn't make it work and pulled the plug. Like most of the Internet, the early wild west days were fun but today's it is all about $$$, google and FB lameness.

  28. Thanks for this blog post. I still miss the site. Law school is still a disappointing path for many people sucked in by law school lies and dreams. What did you wind up doing? Hope you found a better career path.

  29. I was also on there somewhere from 2009 to around 2013. I got banned around then, I don't remember why or if there was even a reason. I do remember there were a lot of toxic posters and they'd been getting worse and worse at that point. They did seem to act as if they ran the site, and admin did seem to favor them.

    Like others I simply moved on. I'm sure I could have made another account or whatever, but why bother? The law school scamblog movement did slow down around then and all but officially died with Nando leaving, and I guess JDU closing was also a demarcation of that.

    Ultimately it's probably healthier not to have JDU around. I've barely read any scam blog movement stuff for years, I forget they exist, sometimes I look up the OTLSS blog, the last I know of, but the activity on there is quite low as well.

    I would suspect today, a discord server would work better, but I doubt I'd want to be in an anti-law school one. I don't know how much of a need there is for it either. Reddit would also work if there really was a desire for it, but as others have posted whatever subreddits are made for it are dead.

    For most of us, it was that period around 2007-2009, but that was a specific period of time and a long time ago. People do move on eventually, and most do end up at least okay. I have no idea if law outcomes are really that bad now or not, I am also not in the industry, and am glad not to be. I did have a longish period of document review, which at least was enough to get rid of loans and create a financial cushion to move on, but I was able to move on and I don't see myself ever doing it again, even with remote as a possibility now.

  30. Hi, this is Andy from JDU (2009-2014 or so). As mentioned on JDU, I moonlight as a web application programmer. I've recently decided to resurrect JD Underground in the same format as before-- a barebones bulletin board with both anonymous posting and user registration. This is free and has no ads because I already have my own equipment and connection, and it costs me nothing extra. The look and feel are similar to the old site, and I look forward to people trying it out. Improvements are actively being made and I put this resource online primarily for other users to enjoy. Thanks.


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