Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

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taxguy
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Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby taxguy » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:00 am

I found this on an internet site. It is a letter from a 3L to the dean of BC College of Law. Certainly, I don't agree with what he wrote,but, if kids from BC can't get jobs, it should open your eyes about law school.
_________________________________________

George D. Brown
Interim Dean
Boston College Law School
885 Centre Street
Newton Centre, MA 02459

Dear Dean Brown,

I hope this letter finds you well. I want to start by thanking you for serving as the interim Dean. I know that it is always difficult to step into a situation at the last minute, but we are all thankful for your leadership.

Unfortunately, the occasion for me writing to you is not a happy one. As a 3L, my peers and I find ourselves in the midst of one of the worst job markets in the history of our profession. A few of us have been able to find employment, but the overwhelming majority of us are desperately looking, and unable to find anything. We are discouraged, scared, and in many cases, feeling rather hopeless about our chances of ever getting to practice law.

To compound our difficulties, many of us are in an enormous amount of debt from our legal studies. Soon after our graduation, we will be asked to make very large monthly payments towards this debt, regardless of whether we’ve been able to find employment or not. It is a debt which, despite being the size of a mortgage, gives us no tangible asset which we could try to sell or turn in to the bank. We are not even able to seek the protection of bankruptcy from this debt.

I write to you from a more desperate place than most: my wife is pregnant with our first child. She is due in April. With fatherhood impending, I go to bed every night terrified of the thought of trying to provide for my child AND paying off my J.D, and resentful at the thought that I was convinced to go to law school by empty promises of a fulfilling and remunerative career. And although my situation puts the enormity of the problem into sharp focus, there are a lot of us facing similar financial disasters. In all of this, we have had very little help from career services, who all seem to be as confounded as we are by this job market. Kate Devlin Joyce has been an amazing and helpful ally; everyone else in that office has shrugged their shoulders at us and asked if we have tried using Linkedin.

I’d like to propose a solution to this problem: I am willing to leave law school, without a degree, at the end of this semester. In return, I would like a full refund of the tuition I’ve paid over the last two and a half years.

This will benefit both of us: on the one hand, I will be free to return to the teaching career I left to come here. I’ll be able to provide for my family without the crushing weight of my law school loans. On the other hand, this will help BC Law go up in the rankings, since you will not have to report my unemployment at graduation to US News. This will present no loss to me, only gain: in today’s job market, a J.D. seems to be more of a liability than an asset. I will explain the gap in my resume by simply saying that I attended law school, but was unable to finish for financial reasons. In the short run, refunding my tuition might present a financial challenge to the law school, but in the long run, better US News rankings will help you far more than having yet another disgruntled and unemployed alumnus.

I would love to discuss this proposal with you further. I would also love to hear any other thoughts or solutions you may have. Thanks very much for your time, and I look forward to speaking with you.

Best regards,

[Name redacted]
Class of 2011

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StrictlyLiable
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby StrictlyLiable » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:07 am

Sorry, but it doesn't really serve your intended purpose of discouraging me.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:09 am

Makes it easy to understand one reason why the letter writer may have difficulty finding employment. Did Boston College School of Law guarantee employment after graduation ?
There are, however, many for profit trade schools that have crossed that line & are facing both private & government legal action.

AP-375
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby AP-375 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:11 am

Verifiable reference please...?

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StrictlyLiable
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby StrictlyLiable » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:14 am

CanadianWolf wrote:Makes it easy to understand one reason why the letter writer may have difficulty finding employment. Did Boston College School of Law guarantee employment after graduation ?
There are, however, many for profit trade schools that have crossed that line & are facing both private & government legal action.



Exactly. Plus, its not an end-all not having a job after graduation. Giving up after 2 full years isn't going to solve anything because they damn sure aren't going to give him a refund. Two years already racked up and leaving with nothing but debt vs. enduring one more year of debt to open more doors than merely a teaching degree. I mean, it doesn't discourage me because it seems like he is losing it because of his "impending fatherhood". Seems to me if there was so much doubt, and fear of this debt, it would have been better to secure a career first before being a father. Not to be a jerk.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:17 am

And the letter writer law student should get an increase in his teaching pay due to his advanced degree if he decides to return to teaching. Many private prep schools hire qualified teachers that also have law degrees.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

WhatToDo21
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby WhatToDo21 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:18 am

StrictlyLiable wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Makes it easy to understand one reason why the letter writer may have difficulty finding employment. Did Boston College School of Law guarantee employment after graduation ?
There are, however, many for profit trade schools that have crossed that line & are facing both private & government legal action.



Exactly. Plus, its not an end-all not having a job after graduation. Giving up after 2 full years isn't going to solve anything because they damn sure aren't going to give him a refund. Two years already racked up and leaving with nothing but debt vs. enduring one more year of debt to open more doors than merely a teaching degree. I mean, it doesn't discourage me because it seems like he is losing it because of his "impending fatherhood". Seems to me if there was so much doubt, and fear of this debt, it would have been better to secure a career first before being a father. Not to be a jerk.


Well no kidding, but sometimes kids aren't exactly planned for?? Not speaking from experience thankfully 8)

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StrictlyLiable
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby StrictlyLiable » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:22 am

WhatToDo21 wrote:
StrictlyLiable wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Makes it easy to understand one reason why the letter writer may have difficulty finding employment. Did Boston College School of Law guarantee employment after graduation ?
There are, however, many for profit trade schools that have crossed that line & are facing both private & government legal action.



Exactly. Plus, its not an end-all not having a job after graduation. Giving up after 2 full years isn't going to solve anything because they damn sure aren't going to give him a refund. Two years already racked up and leaving with nothing but debt vs. enduring one more year of debt to open more doors than merely a teaching degree. I mean, it doesn't discourage me because it seems like he is losing it because of his "impending fatherhood". Seems to me if there was so much doubt, and fear of this debt, it would have been better to secure a career first before being a father. Not to be a jerk.


Well no kidding, but sometimes kids aren't exactly planned for?? Not speaking from experience thankfully 8)



I agree. But from the experience of those I went to high school with, those individuals in "traditional" law school student age range that have kids, are not law school bound, let alone BC caliber. I would just expect it not to be an accident if you are that grade of a student and have made it all of these years haha.

anstud06
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby anstud06 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:23 am

I think what he's asking for is fair.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:26 am

One poster asked for "verifiable reference". Not sure, but it may be seeking information on for-profit trade schools receiving private & government scrutiny for false promises & questionable federal student loan procedures. Try research on the internet. I read about this in several newspapers a few months ago. Check Wall Street Journal, New York Times & USA Today. I know USA Today ran a feature article on this topic within the last few months & I cannot remember which one of the other two newspapers. This type of government action was also featured on CNN, if I recall correctly, and at least one other major TV network news show.

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omninode
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby omninode » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:29 am

Sounds like this guy made a lot of questionable decisions and now he wants to blame it on someone else. Nothing annoys me more than when people beg and borrow to get into a good school and then act like they are somehow victims of their education. No one forced you into law school- in fact, there are so many barriers to getting into a good law school that you must be acutely aware of what you are doing by the time you get admitted.

Also, I take issue with his claim that his law school debt leaves him with "no tangible asset." I think a good legal education is a valuable asset that a lot of people would kill for, especially in a tough economy like we have now. Does anybody believe the author of this letter would have more work available to him if he hadn't gone to law school? Of course not. I would much rather be an unemployed lawyer than an unemployed janitor.

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djjf39
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby djjf39 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:31 am

You can't always expect a bailout for bad choices that you yourself have made. I may be unduly blaming the victim here, but the onus is on that student to make sure that obtaining a JD would be beneficial to him. Not being accountable for your own decision making is a serious moral failing, and going from UG to law school with the idea that three years later you end up with a steady job without a ton of effort is straight ridiculous.

Make better decisions. Reach down, grab your boot straps, and pull yourself up.

anstud06
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby anstud06 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:35 am

How was he supposed to know what the job market was supposed to be like?

KamaalTheAbstract
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby KamaalTheAbstract » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:37 am

omninode wrote:Sounds like this guy made a lot of questionable decisions and now he wants to blame it on someone else. Nothing annoys me more than when people beg and borrow to get into a good school and then act like they are somehow victims of their education. No one forced you into law school- in fact, there are so many barriers to getting into a good law school that you must be acutely aware of what you are doing by the time you get admitted.

Also, I take issue with his claim that his law school debt leaves him with "no tangible asset." I think a good legal education is a valuable asset that a lot of people would kill for, especially in a tough economy like we have now. Does anybody believe the author of this letter would have more work available to him if he hadn't gone to law school? Of course not. I would much rather be an unemployed lawyer than an unemployed janitor.


What the fuck are you talking about. Who would kill to have learned Respondeat Superior and personal jurisdiction? Half of you people have no idea that law school teaches you little and the only reason its there is to get you a job after graduation. Why would you rather be an unemployed lawyer? An unemployed janitor is not 150k in debt.

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StrictlyLiable
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby StrictlyLiable » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:38 am

anstud06 wrote:How was he supposed to know what the job market was supposed to be like?


Well it has been rocky since before he entered LS. Plus, he doesn't know for sure what his fate will be, he has given up two years in.

cowgirl_bebop
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby cowgirl_bebop » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:38 am

Yawn...

I always wonder why people make posts like these trying to discourage others from going to law school. What is their end game?

Law schools do not guarantee employment after school, so they are under no obligation to refund your money. As a guy who spent 2+ years in law school, you would think he would know that by now. And if he is asking the school to simply make a "fair trade" by refunding his money in exchange for not having to list in unemployment, he is simply delusional.

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MTal
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby MTal » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:39 am

StrictlyLiable wrote:Sorry, but it doesn't really serve your intended purpose of discouraging me.


Of course not. You're a unique snowflake for whom things will work out differently.

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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby cowgirl_bebop » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:45 am

MTal wrote:
StrictlyLiable wrote:Sorry, but it doesn't really serve your intended purpose of discouraging me.


Of course not. You're a unique snowflake for whom things will work out differently.

Im with StrictlyLiable.

Who knows what the job market will be like in 2014 when I get out of law school? It might be better, or it might be worse. But its a risk Im willing to take. One sob story about a guy who cannot find a job, even at a good school, is surely not enough to derail my career plans. Everyone knows that you are not promised a job upon graduation. If you go into law school thinking that you are, then you are in for a RUDE awakening after 3 years.

anstud06
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby anstud06 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:48 am

What do you get out of going to law school if 1) it took away 3 years of your life doing something that could've provided you money, 2) it gives you $100K+ debt, 3) gives you no prospect of paying back that debt or recouping your foregone earnings doing what law school prepares you do (i.e. practicing law)?

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MTal
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby MTal » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:49 am

cowgirl_bebop wrote:
MTal wrote:
StrictlyLiable wrote:Sorry, but it doesn't really serve your intended purpose of discouraging me.


Of course not. You're a unique snowflake for whom things will work out differently.

Im with StrictlyLiable.

Who knows what the job market will be like in 2014 when I get out of law school? It might be better, or it might be worse. But its a risk Im willing to take. One sob story about a guy who cannot find a job, even at a good school, is surely not enough to derail my career plans. Everyone knows that you are not promised a job upon graduation. If you go into law school thinking that you are, then you are in for a RUDE awakening after 3 years.


So you're willing to gamble over 100k on the off chance that things will be different in 3 years? If you miss the biglaw boat, your chances of getting a job which will enable you to pay off loans within a reasonable amount of time are minimal.

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Lwoods
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby Lwoods » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:50 am

anstud06 wrote:How was he supposed to know what the job market was supposed to be like?

He entered in fall 2008. Remember the whole mortgage crisis in August of that year? McCain snubbed Letterman because of it. I mean, that's when it was bigtime man-on-the-street news that something was going horribly wrong in the economy, just before this guy entered law school. A little on the late side, but still in time to sign up as a substitute teacher for the new school year.

If he had been paying attention closely, he would have noticed the bloodbath over at Citigroup earlier that year and the rise in bankruptcy proceedings. Unless he wanted to be a restructuring attorney, there were good clues that corporate clients were disappearing, decreasing and cutting back. And with such reductions would be a corresponding decline in the demand for attorneys.

People in the know anticipated the decline in the economy even earlier. People in law and investment banking were mumbling about things in 2007.

BC promised him a legal education. As far as I can tell, the school has given him what it promised. It is up to him to get a job. Easier said than done, I realize, but that's how the world works.

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StrictlyLiable
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby StrictlyLiable » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:54 am

MTal wrote:
cowgirl_bebop wrote:
MTal wrote:
StrictlyLiable wrote:Sorry, but it doesn't really serve your intended purpose of discouraging me.


Of course not. You're a unique snowflake for whom things will work out differently.

Im with StrictlyLiable.

Who knows what the job market will be like in 2014 when I get out of law school? It might be better, or it might be worse. But its a risk Im willing to take. One sob story about a guy who cannot find a job, even at a good school, is surely not enough to derail my career plans. Everyone knows that you are not promised a job upon graduation. If you go into law school thinking that you are, then you are in for a RUDE awakening after 3 years.


So you're willing to gamble over 100k on the off chance that things will be different in 3 years? If you miss the biglaw boat, your chances of getting a job which will enable you to pay off loans within a reasonable amount of time are minimal.


MTal. The point is that leaving now is probably not a good choice. It might be a risk of "gambling 100k" but the fact is, this kid in the letter already gambled that money shy of graduating with its intended purpose. I think if you really want to practice, the "gambling" part is irrelevant.

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djjf39
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby djjf39 » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:55 am

MTal wrote:So you're willing to gamble over 100k on the off chance that things will be different in 3 years?


Whether they will be different is not the question. Of course things will be different, maybe just not better. I am willing to gamble 100k on myself, absolutely. I would much rather live and die by my own abilities and faults. But hey, not everyone digs responsibility for their own well-being.

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omninode
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby omninode » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:56 am

KamaalTheAbstract wrote:Why would you rather be an unemployed lawyer? An unemployed janitor is not 150k in debt.


Not saying law school is for everybody, or everybody should be a lawyer. But a lawyer will have far more opportunities, and more lucrative opportunities, especially when (if?) the economy recovers than somebody who is trying to get by with a run-of-the-mill bachelor's degree or less.

And yes, that amount of debt is significant and frightening. But it is a temporary burden you trade for a permanent education/degree. Not saying it's a fair trade for everybody, but it certainly is wrong to claim that law schools are dishonest about this. Every good law school I've had any contact with has been brutally honest about the risks and difficulties of student debt. You would have to be pretty dense to miss all these warnings on your way to law school and then act surprised when you come out of school in the worst recession in 80 years and you're not swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck.
Last edited by omninode on Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

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kwais
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Re: Letter to BC dean by 3L student.

Postby kwais » Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:56 am

I worry for most of you. Where's the nuance? It is ok to say "This guys story definitely makes you think. Maybe jobs will be hard to find. Nevertheless I think it's a risk I'm willing to take". When you guys act all tough and insult a soon-to-be father who is in a real tough spot, you sound like the sheltered little kids that you are. Good for him for coming up with a possible solution and going for it. Will it work? Probably not. However, in law, in life, in everything, it's necessary to consider both sides.




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