Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cruel Summer, Part 2

Just in case anyone had any illusions that the job market is getting better for rising 2Ls and 3Ls: it’s not. The list of employers for various summer job fairs are starting to trickle in and the numbers are pitiful. It’s not like they were great last summer, but they are even worse this year. Employers don’t even have the pretense of hiring people for the foreseeable future. I can hardly wait for the train wreck that will be OCI this fall.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cruel Summer

I woke up this morning to sweltering heat and an email telling me that my bi-weekly work study paycheck has been deposited. Super. Now I just need to figure out whether to borrow the remainder of my rent money from my boyfriend or my parents.

Anyway, it got me thinking about my summer job (which, incidentally, is not a bad place to work) and I realized that there is another group of people to be pitied. So much of my frustration and disappointment has stemmed from the fact that, even leaving aside the financial ruin I have set up for myself, I just don’t like studying law. It just doesn’t interest me. Okay, maybe in some abstract way some of the legal history we study is interesting. But not one of my law school classes has really captured my interest the way I was promised one would. No practice area has made me say to myself: “Now THAT is what I want to do with my life!”

In some way, I have resigned myself to the huge mistake I made. The ones I feel sorry for today are the ones who love it, the ones who did find the class or classes that captured their passion. The ones who go into their summer job every day and really like what they do. Because they are just as screwed as I am, job wise, but with the added disadvantage of actually caring whether or not the position they some day obtain is a legal position. At this point, I just want a job when I graduate, in some city along the eastern seaboard. (I know even that is a tall order these days.) It is infuriating that after all of the time and money I invested in this degree I have to think that way, but it is what it is. At least I know that if I end up not practicing law, I won’t be missing out from a career satisfaction standpoint. For the others, this summer of slave labor is a cruel tease.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An Open Secret

I'm sure that this has been pondered at length by other people in the scamblogosphere, but I wonder why it is that, despite the fact that this information is so readily available, the mainstream media has been so slow to pick up on the law school scam.

I have read several articles recently exploring the idea of making it easier to discharge student loans in bankruptcy. I read the NYT article about law school grade inflation. But other than that, it seems the mainstream media does not want to touch this with a ten foot pole. When I was applying to law school, there were a few bloggers and people in comments sections trying to shed light on the reality of the situation but even they were few and far between (this was back in 2007). Every now and then I would read an article on the declining value of a college degree, but if anything those articles served to validate the idea of going to law school (or really any graduate program) to somehow distinguish myself from the masses.

If I were a journalist, I would be all over this. What gives?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hindsight is 20/20

Hello All!

I have been inspired by the attention this article has recently received and have decided to start my own "scamblog" to discourage people from applying to law school. If I can discourage one person from applying to law school, I will consider this time well spent.

For some context, I just finished my second year of law school at a second tier school in a second tier city. My experience finding summer jobs has been dicey. While I have found employment both summers, both jobs are unpaid and not in the city where I hope to some day live. Work study has enabled me to squeak by (by which I mean I can manage my rent and not much else) and the sad part is that I am well aware this puts me among the more fortunate of my classmates, many of whom have not been able to find anything law-related for their resumes. Paying jobs are a myth - I know of very few people from my school who have found jobs that pay actual salaries this summer, and that includes several people who are on Law Review.

There are many reasons not to go to law school - crushing debt, bleak job prospects, the lies law schools tell. I will get into all of those reasons but for my first post I want to focus on something that does not quite fall under the "scam" heading. Too many people go to law school for the wrong reason. I was one of those people.

A year out of college, I was a starry eyed Ivy League grad who saw the world through rose-colored glasses. The economy had not collapsed just yet, I was working in a big city and I was caught up in the idea that tons of opportunity was at my fingertips. I had no desire to ever step foot in a classroom again. And then came the pressure. My parents convinced me that law was my meal ticket, not my B.A. in English. Numerous people, in fact, convinced me that there was nothing else one COULD do with such a degree, except for law school. Despite the fact that I had finally established some semblance of financial stability (a decent job, no more credit card debt and a dent in my undergraduate loans, albeit a small dent), I threw caution to the wind, took the LSAT, applied to law school, and ended up at a second tier school in another city. Lo and behold: more debt, more interest, a collapsed economy and years spent studying something that interests me less than watching paint dry. It's not that I exactly went in blind - I had read blog posts, and saw how bleak the job prospects were and how low the professional satisfaction was. But I let myself get caught up in the moment, turned on those rose-colored glasses I am famous for and followed the current.

Some nights, when I can't fall asleep, I think of how simple my life was before I started law school. I know it could not have stayed quite that carefree forever. But I wish I could go back to that time and choose differently, follow my instincts, and just wait things out in my dead-end but stable job until I found something I really enjoyed. These nights when I can't sleep I pray that it is not too late for me - that I will find SOME kind of professional life that will make me happy outside of law. No one understands my misery in this field - not my parents, not my friends... even some of my classmates are puzzled by it. But when I read the other blogs, I somehow don't feel quite as alone in this mentality.

So I might be shouting into the wind, but hopefully someone will read this and reconsider lawschool. Failing that, maybe some other unhappy and disappointed law student or recent grad will read this and not feel quite so alone.