Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What if you want to be a lawyer?

I was in the process of writing the second post in my "Bad Reasons For Starting Law School" series, but I was sidetracked by some of the comments in the first post.  I want to highlight a couple of them here because I think they are important.  One anonymous poster sent in the following comment:

"Law school is for people who WANT to be lawyers! Period! If you do not want to be a lawyer, then don't go to law school! It's just that simple!!! If you actually WANT to be a lawyer, and PRACTICE law, then you should go to law school! Not because your parents want you to; Not because you think you will make a lot of money; Not because you think people/friends will look up to you; Not because you think you will have more standing in the community; You should go to law school because whether you make $20,000.00 annually or $100,000.00 annually, advocating for others is what you want to do for a living and you are willing to do it no matter how much money is on the table."

I have wrestled with this concept before.  What about the people who "want" to be lawyers?  (Overlooking, for the time being, the fact that most prospective law students have an extremely warped idea about what the practice of law really entails.)  It seems odd to tell someone who really wants to be a lawyer that they should not apply.  But it's really not that simple.  Even if you want to be a lawyer and some law school in the country accepts you, there is no guarantee in this economic climate that you actually will be able to get any kind of legal job.  That's a really big risk to take unless you get into one of the best schools.

Another anonymous commenter summed it up well;

"I agree with the sentiment that you should go to law school if your heart is in it and you actually plan to "practice" law. That being said though, the risk/reward ratio is very different from what it was even 10 years ago. Today, you will be going in hock to get that degree and there may not be any pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, only a lot of debt and no reasonable way of paying it off. Truth be told, I doubt I would attend law school at this time. It's just too expensive to justify. In the early 2000's, my law school charged $20,000 per year. Not even a decade later, they are charging $40,000 per year. Yet salaries have stagnated decreased provided you can even get a job. I took another bar exam last week and met a recent student who told me she was $300,000 in debt. She graduated from a 4th tier crap hole, which is not going to open many doors. Despite my own misery at my current debt level, it has become easier to manage over time. But when you're talking about $300,000 of debt, you're in a whole different ball game. That's insane debt, which will have severe repercussions on one's life, i.e., the ability to afford a house, have children, find a suitable spouse, etc. You're basically a debt slave when you're carrying that level of debt. Game over. So the bottom line is, the analysis of whether to attend law school in today's current climate goes well beyond doing what you "want" to do or what you perceive will make you happy. There is a definite cost component that, whether you want to admit it or not, will crush your soul in the long run."

Emphasis mine.  Read that sentence over and over again.  There is more to consider when making long term life decisions than some abstract whim.  Okay, in theory you might think you like practicing law.  The question you have to ask yourself is whether this notion that practicing law is what you want to do or what will make you happy is worth a very heavy financial investment that has a decent chance of not paying off.  People will say you shouldn't worry about how much money you make if practicing law is what you love.  But there's a huge difference between working for a $25,000 salary with no student loan debt, or doing something you love for $25,000 with upwards of $100K in debt.  With no debt, if you change your mind about your career path you can do so.  You might struggle, but you have at least a little flexibility.  If you have $100K or more in student loan debt, that debt is not going anywhere.  You are stuck with it.  It will own you.  The reason I try to discourage people from going into such debt if at all possible is that you can't really fathom what carrying that debt load is like until you have it.  Until it has a major impact on all of the other decisions and milestones you face down the road, including your career, home ownership, marriage and family.  Maybe you will be one of the lucky ones who gets a great job and pays off their student loan debt without a problem.  I would be lying if I said there are no success stories.  Of course there are.  But you have to look at the odds.

I am an anonymous blogger.  There is no reason for someone to take my advice as the last word on any given issue.  Educate yourself.  Look beyond my blog.  But make sure you look beyond the numbers and employment statistics put out by the law schools themselves.  Talk to recent law graduates of the schools you are considering, and similarly ranked schools.  Read other blogs and publications.  Crunch the numbers on how much debt you will incur and how much you will need to earn to make the payments manageable.  You might decide to take the plunge anyway, but please don't be afraid to arrive at the conclusion that law school, or any graduate school, could be a bad investment.  If you have been thinking about going to law school for the past decade, or if you are far along in the application or enrollment process, this might be a scary decision to make.  There is no shame in it. but whatever decision you make, it should be an informed one.


  1. To those students who want to be lawyers, what kind of lawyer do you want to be? Do you want to be a white shoe attorney? Or a plaintiffs attorney? Do you want to work for a small firm that only deals with issues involving family law? Do all attorneys get paid the same way? (i.e., paid by the hour, salary, or commission). How long does it take for a case to go to trial.? How many cases settle before trial? Find the answer to those questions before going into six figure debt.

    There are some public law schools that one can attend for under 15k a year (they are in the south, southwest, and Dakotas). Depending on the type of law that one wants to practice those schools could be better then the ones that cost 40k a year to attend.

    Pennywise pound foolish, the tuition costs are more important to be concerned about then the cost of textbooks. Yet many law students past and future were more concerned about cutting corners on paying for textbooks then they were for tuition. (the prime is example is this textbook renting scam).

    Law school can be the price of a cat one never will get to drive, or a home that one will never live in...

  2. "The reason I try to discourage people from going into such debt if at all possible is that you can't really fathom what carrying that debt load is like until you have it."

    How very true. My own experience is that most new attorneys don't take into account the vast amount of taxes that are extracted from one's paycheck. Add in a high cost of living in a major metropolitan area (like NYC) and a 20-something that has never held a real job in his/her life (and consequently no understanding of the value of a dollar) and you have a a serious problem. That $160,000 salary isn't looking as rosy it it once did.

    I was young once and I can readily admit that I didn't fully understand how much money I was spending in order to obtain my undergraduate education. To the typical 18-year old, it's like Monopoly money. You have no basis for fully understanding what it will actually take to pay the debt back. I don't recall being taught anything about compound interest in high school. Maybe that's by design; to keep people stupid and in debt.

  3. I graduated from law school over 10 years ago. Even at that time I put a very low value on a professional degree. This limited my school choice based on the cost of living and tuition. I made sure I could live on a $40K salary after law school. Thank God I did this.

    There is no way in hell that I would spend $100K for an education. I don't care what the subject matter is.

  4. The scamblogger critique is correctly focused on the law schools' lies and deceptions about career prospects and starting salaries.

    However, part of the critique should be that law school fails to provide practical training for the kids who really want to be lawyers. Most of the instruction is time-wasting Socratic mind-games conducted by grossly overpaid professors who have never seen the inside of a courthouse.

    Law school should be a two-year program. The first year should be a bar review type course to teach the basics fast, plus courses in legal research and writing. The second year should consist entirely of clinicals and externships, supervised by successful local practitioners, to teach the kids how to run an office, how to litigate circuit court gruntwork, how to negotiate a settlement, how to try a case, and how to write an appeal.

    By discarding the law schools' current "we train you to think" mysticism in favor of a skills-based and practice-oriented model of education, we can graduate kids who are capable of representing clients and can at least earn some money as solos with their degree plus bar license. Plus, this model of legal education would be much less expensive, so the graduates who come to the belated realization that law is not for them will not spend a lifetime paying for their mistake.

  5. This is an interesting post because you can't make a blanket statement that nobody should go to law school -- just like buying a lottery ticket, there will be some people who not only want to practice, but land the job they love. It happened to me.

    But just like you wouldn't go $100,000 in debt trying to make the PGA Tour unless you knew you were a damn good golfer, you shouldn't go into debt for law school unless you know you will be a damn good lawyer. How will you know?

    1. You should be able to score, easily, at least 165 on the LSAT. People who say the LSAT does not predict anything are people lying to themselves about their abilities. It would be like saying, "So what if I have never broken 100, I know I'd be great on the PGA Tour, I've seen people on television do it!"

    2. Either go to a top 10 law school or the top law school in the geographic area where you intend to practice. If you can't get admitted to either of those choices, don't go at all.

    3. If you are not in a top 10 law school, the regional school where you intend to practice should give you a scholarship for at least 80% of your tuition. If the school is not willing to offer you that, your odds of being in the top 15% of the class are nil.

    4. Be honest with yourself: Are you willing to skip almost all fun for the first year? If you didn't have at least at 3.8 GPA in undergrad, the answer is no. If you had a 3.8 or higher, the answer is maybe and you have to be honest. The first year will kill you. It will make you fat and bitter. Are you willing to do it? Be honest!

    If you can meet all of those criteria, then "I want to be a lawyer" is a good reason to go. No guarantees, but the odds are that you will come out OK. If you can't do that, forget it. Don't count on a transfer. Don't count on connections. If you are not a kick-ass candidate for law school before 1L, you won't be a kick-ass candidate for legal jobs after one year of law school. Wanting it won't matter.

    Be honest with yourself! Don't say, "I'm pretty smart and I'm good at arguing." If you can't honestly say you're making a run at the top 5% of your undergrad class and the top 5% of LSAT takers, you are running a terrible risk. Even at T1 law schools, 80% of the people are there to fill the bottom of the curve so the top 20% can graduate with honors and take the good jobs. If you don't think you can be in that top 20%, don't go to law school.

  6. I disagree with 5:19 on a number of issues. First, I think the LSAT is not a good predictor of one's ability to practice law. I think 165 is quite high. Does that mean that someone with a 140 LSAT score is going to make a good attorney? I'd have my reservations for sure. I think mid-150s is a good bottom-line number.

    Also, GPA is overstated in 5:19's case. It depends on what you studied. If you're a poly-sci or history major, then you should have a higher GPA than someone who actually studied something substantive, i.e., science, engineering. Ideally, you should have at least a 3.0, once again, depending on what you studied.

    Top 10 school? Well that would be nice wouldn't it? But it's not exactly realistic for the vast majority of people. My take is you should try to get into a top-14 to top-25 school. Barring that, try to get into the best local school IN THE AREA you want to live and practice. For example, University of Cincinnati or George Mason are in the first tier, but is anyone in NYC going to hire a Univ. of Cincy grad? Doubtful. Law is very territorial; people hire people like themselves. I for one, being on the east coast, would not hire someone from Nebraska or some Red state. Why? Because there are so many lawyers out there that I don't need to hire someone from Nebraska. I hope you get the point.

  7. There are other qualities that matter: initiative, good judgment, good people skills.

    When I was a law student, I got a summer internship at a nonprofit. There were four other interns from two different top 10 schools in the area; I was a returing student at a second-tier school. I was presenting cases in court when the others were spending the whole day in the library. I cultivated good relationships with the permanent staff; they spent all their time with each other.

    One day one of the interns was whining to the others, "How come SHE gets to appear in court?" just as the managing attorney walked by. The managing attorney backed up and said, "Because she ASKED to."

    When there's a lot of competition, firms aren't looking only at high grades from top schools. They also consider whether a candidate seems to be a self-starter and someone who will get along well with the other attorneys and the clients.

    However, if you have a lot of initiative and great people skills but you went to a fourth-tier school and racked up six figures in debt, your good qualities probably won't overcome the poor judgment suggested by your academic and economic choices.

  8. ^^ Agreed. No matter how good your people skills, the fact that you went to a 4th tier dung heap will generally not allow you to overcome people's negative perceptions. For example, if you attend Tom Cooley, there is an instant, automatic and generally irrefutable presumption AGAINST you in the hiring process - that is if you can even get an interview. In contrast, if you went to a top-10 school, there is a presumption FOR you. You could even have 3-inch nose hairs sticking out of your schnoz and you would still have a better chance of getting the job over a Cooley grad. So strive to attend a law school where there is a presumption in your favor. You don't want to constantly feel as though you're on the defensive; always explaining why you went to such and such crap School of Law.

  9. Yes.

    And that, people, is the essential premise of the scamblogs: for MOST people, it is wise to stay out of the lower-tiered toilets. Law is a uniquely prestige-whoring "profession". No other profession, none at least that I know of, tolerates, yea, encourages that half or more of a given graduating class from the commode-level schools is thrown on the trash pile. If law schools had to find residencies for EVERY SINGLE student like medicine does, more than half these toilets would shut down. Period. Has anyone ever heard of a "lowr-tiered" or "non-elite" dental school? I have not. In fact, I don't really consider law to be a real profession, but a glorified trade. This is because 1) it is a post-secondary-school, college level track in other countries, and NOT on a par with real professions like medicine; and 2) REAL professions regulate themselves, and don't pump out twice as many licensees as there are openings for. This is also why law and lawyers have lost even a modicum of respect in the public's eyes.

    Law is a PRESTIGE-driven profession, and likely to stay that way. There's just too many dollars available to pump out these worthless and expensive JD's to hapless lemmings.

  10. I'm a law professor at a Tier One school (we're far enough from the Top Ten that about half our 2010 grads don't have real legal jobs 15 months after graduation). I've been in law teaching for 20 years and hope to stay 20 more, although reading the scam blogs has made me ask serious questions about what I'm doing with my life.

    I just want to say a couple of initial things. First, blogs like this are doing important work. Keep it up! There *are* people inside legal academia who realize that things have to change, and that law school is becoming, to put it nicely, a dubious career choice (to put it not so nicely, a rip-off) for an increasingly greater percentage of our students.

    Second, things have changed a great deal in the law business over just the last few years. Law faculty are just beginning to come to terms with these changes, which are extremely unpleasant to contemplate (of course they are infinitely more unpleasant to contemplate if you're a recent law grad or current law student as opposed to a tenured law school professor).

    I hope to contribute some inside perspective to this blog in regard to what's happening in legal academia -- I've certainly learned a lot by reading it and others like it. In that light I'd be happy to try to answer questions people might have.

  11. This will most likely be (to the joy of many) my last post to this miserable blog. You go to truck driving school to get a state/federal license to drive. You learn a trade. You then go out and apply, volunteer, intern, etc. for a job. NONE of you seems to actually want a job. Law Professor. With all due respect, if you could make more money as a practicing atty you would be doing it. If you enjoy teaching more that practicing, then I understand. I cannot state how disappointed I am with our law graduates. I have clients who have gone from running a dry cleaner business to selling oranges on the highway. High management at HP to sporting goods department at Walmart. Abandon Tijuana businesses because of kidnappers to work at Ikea. And you guys can't be bothered to intern for free. This country needs to crash and burn if for no other reason than to teach its young the value of work and a dollar.

  12. "And you guys can't be bothered to intern for free. This country needs to crash and burn if for no other reason than to teach its young the value of work and a dollar.

    August 8, 2011 2:51 AM"

    I'm no sure I am geting the central point here.

    Is it you contention that in order to "learn the value of a dollar" kids who are LICENSED ATTORNEYS not work for those dollars, but rather, work for free in the face of six-figure non-dischargeable-in-bankruptcy student loan debt?

    The interning is supposed to take place when one is a student, or so I thought. Once the formal schooling and licensing is completed, people generally have this peculiar, burning desire to make a living and to, oh, I don't know, maybe have a place to live, start a family, etc. Sound familiar?

  13. @2:51 - I think your comments are ridiculous. I would gather a guess that you are the infamous World Traveling law Student. Since law school is starting back up and you intend to not comment on these blogs any further, I suggest my theory holds true.

    I suppose you think I should just go out an intern for some law firm for free. Keep in mind, I've been out for a number of years. You fail to recognize that many people are falling for these intern scams or working for free when the firm has no intention of ever hiring that person full time. There were recently stories of people working in the prosecutor's office for years UNPAID with the "hope" that one day, when they're broke and homeless, that the prosecutor's office will bring them on board. My feeling is you have no clue how the legal profession actually works.

  14. OK- I'll bite. From the responses it doesn't surprise me that the pass rate for the CA bar is about 30-40%. Sooooo, instead of going to a solo/medium firm and saying "Let me prove to you that I am invaluable" (and then actually doing so) for free for a period of time to be determined by you (and then securing a job), you would rather sit at home and circle gripe with the rest of this $100k+ student loan group?
    What makes you ENTITLED to a job by your being a licensed atty? Interning has NOTHING to do with whether you have your ticket or not. DO YOU WANT A JOB OR NOT? Apparently the answer is "NO".
    As far as "no clue how the legal profession works", I'm trying to figure out how to disclose my ID without suffering the false YELP reviews that will follow from the trolls. . .

  15. You sound like an industry shill to me. In the alternative, you're some ivy league fuck that had everything handed to them on a silver platter and can't understand how the rest of the world operates.

    Your points are unclear. Why don't you ask the millions of unemployed people in this country whether they are "entitled" to a job. Yet, the majority of these people didn't go $100,000+ in debt to get their job.

  16. And another thing, I've already tried the solo thing. It was a massively underfunded endeavor. That's something you're not taking into account. Maybe 20 years ago you could easily go solo right out of law school, but today, when some students have racked up nearly $200,000+ in debt (a conservative figure IMO), it's not feasible. I suppose you think they can just go to a bank and ask for a business loan to start a practice. I'm still of the opinion that you really have no clue how the legal industry operates. It's like talking to my ignorant mother who would suggest that I walk into a firm and hand deliver my resume to show them my go-getter attitude.

  17. where to start- This thread demonstrates why you (collectively) are unemployed. I went to a (if I understand your lingo) a 4th tier school that is referred to derisively as the "Harvard of the West". I incurred $120k+ in loans. But in school and after I volunteered with every lawyer who would have me to learn the trade. Some of these guys are now in jail for their tactics, some are names you guys probably worship.
    No one is "entitled" to a job. THAT"S THE POINT. You have to earn the right to work via education, experience, who you know, proving yourself, etc.
    20 years ago you could not, anymore than you can today, open up a solo and make $$. It took me ~7 yrs. to make enough $$ so my spouse could stay at home and not work. You don't start a solo by borrowing money and going further into debt. That's just plain stupid. Unfortunately, you guys have learned the hard way that debt does not equal wealth.
    No clue how the legal industry works? I've litigated hundreds of cases and hired and fired dozens in my firm (hundreds in my professional life). And you know what? I haven't sworn at you or used foul language. Really?
    Here's my question for you all. What ARE you going to do? They are rioting in the rest of the world over the lack of jobs and opportunities. Are you going to do something? Or hide behind "anonymous" and post to a blog hoping "something" happens? B4 you point at me, I have a job. I'm the boss.

  18. "What makes you ENTITLED to a job by your being a licensed atty? Interning has NOTHING to do with whether you have your ticket or not. DO YOU WANT A JOB OR NOT? Apparently the answer is "NO".
    August 9, 2011 2:45 AM"

    I don't, and never have, felt entitled to anything. But I am also not working for ANYONE for free. News flash: it is possible, possible that is, to want to make a living while not feeling "entitled." What's this "work for free" bullshit about? How can you support and feed a family, and responsibly pay your bills, while working for free? Wealthy parents, perhaps? Must be nice.

    Fuck law. I now work, successfully, wholly outside the field. Not missing it. Thanks for the caring posts, but please shill elsewhere. Are you employed by one of these toilet bowls?

  19. August 10, 2011 1:14 AM

    No, your are definitely NOT my boss, and I am happily employed outside law. Once again, toilet bowl law school dean, go shill elsewhere.

  20. ^ My sentiments exactly. I'm glad you have a job. But seeing as though you have litigated "hundreds" of cases, you likely graduated many years ago when tuition was low(er) and when opportunities were more plentiful.

  21. Hi! First, I would like to state that I am the one who posted "You should go to law school if you WANT to be a lawyer" on July 25, 2011 at 12:02pm. Second, Anonymous who posted on 8-10-11 at 1:14am, I wanted to tell you that you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!!! These guys have serious "entitlement" issues and trying to reason with them is pointless. I cannot think of one degree seeking program in ANY field that GUARANTEES their students a full-time job making a six figure salary! And I don't know why anyone would think that going to law school is a guaranteed route to financial success.

    Are there financially successful lawyers practicing everyday? Absolutely. I'm one of them. Did we have guarantees that we would be financially successful from our law schools. Uh, I think not. We worked our butts off in school and out of school and we did what it took to become successful. I had two unpaid internships so that I could put those jobs on my resume. One was a law firm, the other, a government agency. And it was the smartest thing I ever did because those jobs put me in contact with some people I might otherwise have never met.

    If you have a crappy degree, admit it and deal with it. Accept that you chose a degree in basket weaving or some other foolishness and understand that you might not make more than $25,000.00 a year. Don't go to law school to make up for having a crappy degree. Don't go to law school because your parents want you to! And definitely don't go to law school because you read a article in a magazine that said lawyers make a lot of money. Those are just stupid reasons to go to any school, not just law school.

    The minute Rose knew she didn't want to be a laywer, (i.e., after her 2nd year), she should have walked away. There is no shame in that. The real shame is that she sent in her seat deposit and took away a spot from someone who truly wanted to be a lawyer when her heart was clearly never in it in the first place! Now that is what pisses me off! And then, to top it all off, she incurred an entire third year's worth of debt for the sake of saying she finished the program only to turn around and bash the law school for the cost of attending, which she agreed to pay. And now you want to scream it wasn't worth it. That's just buyer's remorse.

  22. You can criticize my actions or decisions all you want; Lord knows I have certainly criticized my own decisions many times on this blog. But I can't change the past. My goal is to keep people from making the same mistake I did. Or at the very least to encourage people to think about the possible repercussions of their decisions one way or the other. And while the high cost of tuition does bother me, the law schools did not create the bad job market. What they do is misrepresent their employment and starting salary data, and that is indefensible.

  23. join facebook

  24. August 10, 2011 2:17 PM

    Unfortunately, the shills, trolls and law school apologists think they will jump freely between the concept of wanting to be employed, and wanting a "six-figure" job right out of law school. We are talking about the need to be fucking EMPLOYED after law school,in the field, at a subsistence level at minimum. YOU GUYS, likely paid shills for the law school industrial complex who graduated in 1973 or something while dodging the draft, are injecting this "six-figure, entitlement" red herring.

    You can shove your "working for free" up your collective Boomer asses. I have a job.

  25. Anonymous at 4:10pm, you are so misled. I graduated from law school in 2002, not 1973. And I don't think I'm entitled to my six figure salary. I worked by butt off for it!!! If you are employed, that's great! I hope that it is a job that you are happy with because you sound like a miserable person. All the unneccessary profanity and name calling is juvenile and further proof that your problems are bigger than what can be solved on this blog. It's also proof of why you probably wouldn't make a good lawyer anyway. A good lawyer takes the good with bad. You clearly have issues with that aspect of life and, therefore, will always have difficulty dealing with things when they don't go your way. No one is asking you to work for free. But we are asking you to stop expecting something for nothing. During my unpaid internships, which were 20 hour/week jobs, I worked a paying job as well to put food on the table for me and my son. Yes, I was a single mother. NOTHING was handed to me...ever!!! My internships were stepping stones to get to the level of law that I WANTED to practice. I didn't want to be singer, or a nurse, or an engineer. I didn't want to be an actress, or a hairdresser, or a bartender. I WANTED to be a lawyer and I was willing to do what it took to become one. You can keep whining over the poor choices you made in the past, or you can accept the life you created for yourself and move forward. If that means working at the local department store, and you're happy, then more power to you.

    And to you Rose, for every person who is on the fence about law school that you deter from my profession, I applaud you. The last thing we need or want are disgruntled JD's. Like it or not, in life and in death, from adoptions to wills and estates, sooner or later, everyone needs a lawyer. The good news is, true advocates like me will be there ready and waiting to help. I do wish you the best in whatever endeavor you choose to pursue. I'm just glad it's not law!

  26. Young people don't realize how stifling to life plans having six figures of student loan debt really is.

    It's far, far worse than a mortgage, which most young people think of as a huge ball and chain.

    Guess what, you can walk away from a mortgage. In California, you simply walk. In other states that have recourse, you can still walk, but you'll have to take a pitstop at the bankruptcy court. In either case, you're done and out in less than six months.

    There's no walking on student loan debt. Sallie Mae just sits there, waiting to snatch any money that falls into your hands.

    Want to start a business? Sorry, need a job to pay those loans.

    Want to travel? Sorry, need a job to pay those loans.

    Want to stay home and have kids? Sorry, need a job to pay those loans.

    Want to work on your novel/software/play/art? Sorry, need a job to pay those loans.

  27. August 10, 2011 5:40 PM

    Again, congratulations on having someone able to support you while you worked for free to learn the trade (I refuse to see law as a "profession" because professions regulate themselves and don't pump out twice as many grads as the market will bear).

    Anyway, just because some people are lucky enough to have the LUXURY of working for free does not mean everyone has that same luxury. Some people are on their own in this world and bill collectors pound at the door.

    Because some people don't have the economic capability of taking on unpaid internships while some other unfortunate soul supports them does not mean they are lazy, unmovited, incapable or any of the other useless projections you choose to throw out at them. If that worked for you, great, but don't come on here and attack others who don't have this option.

    Are you the same person who posted the following excerpts from up above?

    "It took me ~7 yrs. to make enough $$ so my spouse could stay at home and not work." August 10, 2011 1:14 AM


    "I worked a paying job as well to put food on the table for me and my son. Yes, I was a single mother." August 10, 2011 5:40 PM

    If so, I am just curious. Because it seems on the one hand, you had a spouse working to support the household, something many of us do not have in order that we may intern "for free" somewhere, and on the other hand, we have the "single mother" struggling alone thing, judging by the second posting.

    Which would be you? Or am I mistaken and you did not write both posts? Then, I am truly puzzled as you seem to be responding as if you did.

  28. No- I'll call my "self employed-anonymous" from now on so no confusion. Employed by myself. I'm the one that took about 7 yrs. to actually turn the corner with my own firm. The other atty is supporting my argument. A few of you are not articulate enough to argue and, instead, demonstrate with obscenities why I would never hire you and you will most likely go to your grave with your student loan debt. Nice guys.
    I graduated with $115,000 in student loan debt in '94. I WISH I was single when I graduated b/c then I would not have had to put my wonderful wife through the pain of paying off my non-student loan debt (I wish I had filed BK). my wife was making about $40k/yr. Pretty rich, huh?
    Seriously, you guys are AMAZING!!!!!! I agree with you that lawschool is a big scam that is merely a hazing process. But, once you have your ticket YOU are in control of whether you make money or not.
    There is NO substance to any of these replies other than: "I will not work for free". OK. Then you will not work at all in the legal field. Oh, I'm sorry, some of you have non-legal jobs. Great. Next time I see you then I'll ask you to "supersize it" for me.

  29. Dear Anonymous 8-10-11 (9:38pm),

    You are really starting to crack me up pretending as if you don't know there are several different lawyers responding to this blog. I will humor you briefly and acknowledge that my posts are the "Single mom who went to law school, and actually WANTED to be a lawyer, and LOVES practicing law." You can find them dated and time stamped at 7-25-11 (12:02pm), 8-10-11 (2:17pm) and 8-10-11 (5:40pm).

    Despite the fact that your posts make no sense whatsoever, I must say they are entertaining. Allow me to let you in on a little can't be a single mother and have a spouse at the same time! LOL!!! Although it would have been nice to have that financial support to back me up during school, it just didn't work out that way. I think the word starts with a "d." The point is, I didn't let that stop me from pursuing my goals in life. I knew the costs involved in going to law school and I agreed to pay them, despite the dollar amount, because its what I needed to do to become a lawyer. Currently, I owe $98,000.00 in student loan debt that I consolidated for a lower interest rate/payment, but I also own two homes and three cars. And I still have money left over for savings, and vacations, and my son's college education, and shopping, etc. Things that I might not be able to do or afford had I not gone to law school and worked for "free" doing those unpaid internships. I'm just saying...

    With that said, let me be clear...I NEVER called anyone on this blog lazy, unmotivated, or incapable! What I did say is stop your friggin' whining! Life is hard! Especially in tough economic times. So, suck it up!!! Pick something that you can do with your life and be happy with your choice! Don't bash the practice of law because you didn't make the cut!

  30. I am "self employed anon"- To my co-counsel single mom, please join me in abandoning these lost causes. I'm looking back at my posts and I am embarrassed by my conduct. I initially posted to these/this blog in an naive attempt to help these kids. The initial posts were suggestions on how to get hired. I should know as they worked for me and I'm now semi-retired in under 20 yrs. of REAL hard work. I now volunteer and sit on the board of many non-profits that help high school kids, college kids and law school students. Unfortunately, you guys are so filled with hate and are woefully unprepared (read: unwilling) to work and participate in the real world (law related or not). I made a mistake. But, as the attacks on us (who initially tried to help you) became more personal over time, I fought back. That was wrong. Good luck guys. You will fail. You cannot have the attitude you have and be successful at ANYTHING.

  31. @Self-employed anonymous -- Your obstinate insistence on sticking with the idea that because people do not wish to volunteer their services they are somehow unwilling to work leads me to believe that you are either a) a complete troll who is just trying to get a rise out of people or b) insane. I am not saying that as a personal, malicious attack. I mean it very literally. Trying to convince people facing huge loan payments that they should be willing to work for free is, as you say, a lost cause. You say you are a profitable attorney. I assume that means that you have some awareness of the value of time. Does commenting on a blog to a bunch of so-called lost causes constitute a good use of your time?

    If you are truly trying to help, I thank you for your efforts, however misguided. I suspect, however, that you are just being a jackass. Your comments will not be missed.

  32. To Rose,'ve just proven the point that "self-employed" made. The "real" Esquires on this post were only trying to give you some ideas that might work in your quest to find gainful employment. Why you ask? Because they are living proof of what does work vs. what doesn't. What's that you say? You don't want to participate in an unpaid internship? Fine! No problem! It's only one method to finding a job. Obviously, you're too busy doing other time-consuming things for FREE like monitoring and posting to this blog. You're clearly too busy to do anything else that might actually land you a job, so keep up the good work. You can remain respectfully unemployed.

    Your blog isn't about anything more than wallowing in your own self-pity! Oh and useless name calling too! So have at it and enjoy the rest of being miserable.

  33. LOL - really? It isn't about ANYTHING other than wallowing in my self-pity? Generally, I am a very happy person. This particular topic gets me very riled up and that is why I have a blog focused on it. Yes, I have time to monitor and post to this blog. Apparently, so do you! I have 33 posts on this blog in a little over a year. There may be things that are hindering me from finding a job, but this blog is not one of them.

    But if the things that I am writing are so distasteful to you, leave! No one is holding a gun to your head and forcing you to leave patronizing comments to people. You have a job you claim to love. Get to work!

  34. Today's my day off! LOL!!!

  35. I am "self employed anon" and back for this reason only. I have a challenge for my apparently "esquired/ticketed" but unemployed, and, by my estimate, unemployable-because-of-your-lack-of-work ethic brethren. Would you be willing to come on radio/TV with me to debate this? I will shortly be re-entering the broadcast medium after a 1 year absence and would love to discuss, and take audience participation on those things discussed on this blog. Rose? It's your blog. Are you willing to own your opinions? How about the others. Unfortunately, there will be a 17 second delay so some of your more inarticulate and offensive comments won't make it on air. Any takers? If so, I will provide contact information.

  36. Rose,
    At what amount of student loan debt do you believe cost should become the larger factor in making the decision to go to law school

  37. @6:27 -- Hard to come up with a hard and fast rule, but I would say that it is not advised to have more than $50,000 COMBINED law school and undergraduate debt. That's just off the top of my head. There might be an exception, such as someone who already has a bit of undergraduate debt and then gets into Yale Law School. Yale is probably still a safe bet. But if you are looking for a bright line rule, $50K combined.

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