Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First Day!

Well, I am heading out soon for my first day on the job.  Thank you for all of the kind comments and emails I have received.  I'm anxious, but also excited.  If possible, I think my husband is even more excited.

I will be checking in later tonight for a "real" post.  Sorry for the slow week.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reflections on my Job Search

Since I just received my job offer early this Monday and will not be starting my new position until Wednesday, it may seem a bit soon to reach any grand, sweeping conclusions about my job search.  That said, I think that my search taught me some things that could be of use to those of you who are looking for jobs, specifically people with law degrees.

1) Networking: I can only speak for myself when I say that networking is beyond crap.  The conventional wisdom says that networking is the golden rule of job-hunting.  Making connections, meeting their connections, getting your business card/resume out there, etc. For me, connections did absolutely nothing.  The only connection that produced any result was my husband's former coworker.  And all that ended up getting me was an offer for an unpaid internship.  Think of it this way:  in a difficult job market like this one, basically no one has any job security.  Why are they going to stick their neck out for a friend of a friend, someone they might not know very well personally and whose work product they probably don't know at all?  I can't even blame them for it.  Maybe networking was more valuable when the economy was better.  Or maybe if you are looking for an unpaid internship someone will go out on a limb for you.  But that's not the climate right now, and I can't say that shocks me.

2) Law degrees for non-legal jobs:  I was able to get this job, a non-legal job doing research, writing and social media for an organization, despite the fact that I have a law degree.  I don't know exactly what the interviewers thought about the law degree, but they did ask about it.  Every single person who interviewed me asked me about the law degree, why I have it, why I am not seeking an attorney position, and how the skills might translate.  My point is that even if some of the stigma of the J.D. is starting to dissipate (and I don't necessarily think that it is), it is still a liability you will have to address.  So come up with a good explanation for why you went, what made you change your mind about the legal field, and how you plan on using the skill set.  Keep the tone as positive as you can.  For me, it is difficult to sound positive when discussing the law and the legal profession.  But I did the best I could and I think it helped.

3) Interviews:  I can honestly say that the best thing that happened for me in terms of getting this job was the fact that I interviewed for a virtually identical job earlier this summer.  Some of you might recall that I went all the way through the interview process at another organization this summer.  I did multiple rounds and submitted a writing exercise.  While I did not get the position, I learned from the questions exactly what employers in this field look for in a candidate.  I even learned something from the tone of their questions about the law degree.  Interviewing makes you a better interviewer, so if you get an offer for an interview you should take it, even if it is not a position you think you would want to accept.

But the most important thing...

4) Don't Give Up:  We all went to college and law school or graduate school because we ARE intelligent, hard-working people with something to offer an employer and society in general.  Trolls, shills and apologists come on these blogs and try to make us feel bad about ourselves.  As if it is our fault that we were taken in at a young age by a huge scam.  As if we caused the economic collapse that left us with few job prospects and crippling debt.  I'm all for personal accountability.  But the people who come here and scream about personal accountability in the comments section are here because they thrive on making other people feel insecure and bad about themselves.  I'm no psychologist, but I can tell you this:  DON'T internalize this portrayal of the young, indebted and unemployed.  Our only crimes were not being born with independent wealth and believing that education was the key to success. Keep applying for jobs, keep going on interviews, keep looking for openings.  You will find something eventually.  You will, of course, have good days and bad days during the process.  I certainly did.  Have someone to vent to: a friend, a significant other, a family member.  And, if you are sick of venting to those people, send me an email.  I'm always like to commiserate.

Best of luck everyone!  And as I said in my prior post, I will still be blogging.  Exposing the higher education scam is just as important as ever, and I will be here doing my part as long as I can.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My baby takes the morning train...

...and as of next Wednesday, so will I.

Yes, you read that right.  Last night I found out that I got a full-time job.  It is a non-legal job, but it pays well enough.  I don't know if the law degree had any impact on the hiring process, but I think the writing skills I learned will be somewhat useful for the position.   I can't swear to that, obviously, but they might.

I will admit it:  I am really excited about this job.  It has been a difficult few months and my self esteem took a bit of a hit.  Will I be giving up the fight?  Not a chance.  This good news has energized me and I am more committed than ever to fighting the law school/higher education scam.

Thanks for all of the emails and comments of support I received during the process.  I have some great readers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

More Fraudulent Numbers... Is Anyone Surprised?

Apparently, the University of Illinois is currently investigating allegations that someone at the law school provided false admissions data about the incoming class of 2014.  The data in question was posted to the law school's website and included in at least some of its promotional materials.  An Associate Dean has been placed on probation pending the outcome of the investigation.

Read about the scandal here.

I'm glad that the University seems to be pursuing the matter.  You would think these schools would learn from the mistakes of their fellow money traps.

Friday, September 9, 2011

What a cheerful news day!

Warning:  If you are having a happy Friday, you might not want to read these articles.

The ABA Journal email that arrived in my inbox is just chock full of cheerful articles today.  The first and most relevant one for our purposes is entitled "Legal Field Is Nation's Most Difficult Field For Job Placement, Employment Website Says."  Read it and weep.  The site,, claims that there is apparently one job opening for every 100 working lawyers.  Does that figure include the unemployed attorneys?  Probably not, which means the outlook is even worse than they know.

Second, there is an article which discuss women in the workforce.  It is called  "Survey Reveals Profile of Unhappy Worker: She's Unmarried, 42, and a Lawyer or Doctor."

There are always tons of stories about how unhappy attorneys are in the legal field. That's not to say that ALL attorneys are unhappy.  But a field that many people enter by default because they do not know what else to do lends itself to that sort of career dissatisfaction, if they are able to find a legal job at all these days.  But I am always suspect when surveys claim that professional women are particularly unhappy.  It seems easy to manipulate that data for a political agenda that encourages women to work part time or stay at home all together, as if very many women or men have that luxury nowadays.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Another Job Search Update

I thought I would take a break from depressing law school related posts to pop in and discuss my job search.

Some of you might recall that shortly after I graduated I had a phone interview for a position I really liked with a company I thought was a really good fit for me.  Sadly, they were looking for someone with experience I technically did not have.  I thought I had some skills that would translate well, but they did not seem to want to take the leap.  Which, I suppose, in an economic environment where the employer pretty much has the pick of the litter, is not irrational.

At the time, I decided not to burn the bridge.  I really like this company and the people I spoke to, and I thought it would be a good fit.  So I told them to keep me in mind for the future.  Lo and behold, a new position has opened up and the woman I spoke with at the time called me today and asked if I wanted to come in to discuss this position.  No guarantees, obviously, but I am cautiously optimistic that this might be something good.  She has spoken with me before, so she pretty much knows what she is getting.

I will keep you all updated as I hear things, but keep your fingers crossed for me!  I would say that this is the most promising lead yet!  I still have another interview pending, but I think this is one has more promise.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Nando's Takedown of the Education Scam for AskMen

Nando, author of Third Tier Reality and one of the most notorious (and most effective) scambloggers, has a great piece for, which I highly recommend you check out.  It's a fantastic article that exposes a problem, backs it up with cold, hard facts, and proposes legitimate ways to fix it.  It is well worth your time. Read it here.

Happy Belated Labor Day, everyone!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jobs disappear, lemmings fill out law school applications

It's the circle of life, folks.

The title of the article is promising:  "Law schools lure fewer students as jobs dry up."  And yet the article is full of anecdotes, mostly centered on prospective law students in Missouri, that make me want to smash my face into my keyboard.  Here is the opening act:

Tenia Phillips has heard the horror stories about life after law school, circa 2011, from crushing student loan debt to recent graduates serving coffee at Starbucks.
The reality check didn't deter the 27-year-old Waco, Texas, resident from pursuing her childhood dream, though it took four years of working as an apartment leasing agent before she could start fall classes last week at the University of Missouri law school.
"I had gotten to the point in my life where it was either now or never," she said. "Nothing in life is guaranteed. The job market can go back up again or back down."

That's not true, Tenia.  One thing is guaranteed, and that is the non-dischargeable nature of your future debt load.


James Leopold, executive director of the National Association for Law Placement, said such criticism "adds to that culture of doubt surrounding legal education."
"The whole economy of delivering legal services, and the structure of these services, is changing," he said, describing changes that include a move to "offshore" legal jobs as well as a growing reliance by corporations on contract attorneys rather than in-house counsel.
"Are we producing too many lawyers? It's a question I can't answer," Leopold said.
 Really, Mr. Leopold?  You can't answer that question?

There are some bright spots in the article, which mentions that schools such as the University of Delaware and SUNY-Stony Brook have shelved their plans for a money trap law school.  As I said in a prior post, all press is good press.  But it saddens me, once again, that these students saw the writing on the wall and took the plunge anyway.