Sunday, October 30, 2011

D.C. is no haven for recent law grads

When I was getting ready to graduate, several well-meaning people told me that Washington, D.C. was the place to look for jobs.  The federal government isn't getting any smaller, after all.  And I am told that there is a slightly higher percentage of people with law degrees working in non-attorney positions by choice in D.C.

My friends on the ground in D.C. told a different story. The market, they explained, is completely saturated.  There are a ton of law schools in the local area, not to mention graduates from top tier schools coming to D.C.  

This article in the Washington Examiner tends to validate their position.

Quick quote:
 "Here in the District, the situation is not as dire, but many are settling for jobs that fall short of the glamorous gigs they envisioned while piling up thousands of dollars in student loans."
 That's a bit of an understatement.  I can't help but speculate that the reason the situation in D.C. does not seem as dire is that people probably consider unpaid work "employment."    Unpaid internships are rampant in D.C., and I know more than one graduate of a D.C. area law school (not Georgetown) currently working for free.

The moral of the story:  a) Avoid law school like the plague.  b) Don't expect to do any better in D.C.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If you're not the 99%, what are you?

I have not said anything about the Occupy Wall Street movement yet.  Part of the reason for that is that in a movement so expansive, it is hard to make generalizations about the participants or their motives.  We don't know what path the protests will end up taking, and so I can't really take a stance yet.  But I encountered this picture online and it made me really sad.

I applaud this young woman (I'm going to guess it's a woman based on the handwriting) for her wise financial decisions.  But what I can't applaud is the lack of any kind of sympathy for the situation that many of her classmates are about to find themselves in.  Not everyone has parents who are able to give them sound financial advice.  It's very easy for a 17 or 18 year old to sign the dotted line and go to their "dream school" without understanding the consequences.  Then, once they get to said dream school, they are inundated with credit card offers driving them further into debt.  How hard is it to see that that is predatory?

Another flaw is that this person equates working their "@$$" off with results.  Those of us who bought into the law school scam know that that is not necessarily the case.  Education and hard work are not the surefire recipe for success anymore, if they ever were.

I agree that people should not go into debt for higher education.  But that was not quite so clear cut when many of us were going to school, and it is vitally important that the word get out there about the pitfalls of student loan debt, so young people graduating from high school now do not become victims of the same mistake.  If Occupy Wall Street manages to convey that message, it will have accomplished something.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm overdue for an update!

Well I know I promised to continue posting, and let me assure you that my week and a half long absence is not indicative of what is to come.  I will continue posting but it has taken me some time to get into the swing of things.

Let me first say that I really, really like my job so far.  It is a cool place to work and I even find the work challenging.  (In a good way!)  I hesitate to say this, because I don't want to undermine my fundamental message, but I think that my legal education is coming in handy in this position.  Here's the thing:  They tell you that law school teaches you a new way of thinking, and a new way of problem solving, that is useful even in a non-legal position.  This might come as a shock, but I think that is absolutely correct.  The problem is that there is almost no way you will be able to convince non-legal employers that you are not a flight risk.  So even if you gain some useful skills in law school (which, despite my anecdotal evidence, his highly debatable), you will be hindered in your job search by the JD.  You know where else you gain useful skills?  In the workforce.  If you are fortunate enough to have a job in this economy, stay there.  I would trade the marginally useful critical thinking skills I gained in law school in a heartbeat, if it meant I could have those years of my life back.

I know I'm a broken record.  But it truly can't be said enough:  Don't go to law school if you don't want to be a lawyer, and make sure that you know what the practice of law entails before you decide you want to be one.  That's as close to a golden rule as I can get.

Things are looking up, guys.