JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

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JCougar
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JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:40 pm

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/natalie-g ... 57898.html

Got any good lawyer jokes? Here's one, "What do you call a law school graduate?"

Sadly, the answer is increasingly becoming: "Unemployed."

The national unemployment rate for law graduates has grown for the sixth year in a row to a whopping 15.5 percent, according to a report by the National Association for Law Placement. This unemployment exists despite soaring law school tuition.


That's just the people who have no job at all. Not to mention the 30% additional who were unable to find jobs as lawyers.

I don't know what the exact stats are, but 15% unemployment has to put JD grads somewhere in the range between "I got my GED at age 21" and "some community college."

Just a warning to all new applicants. This process takes a lot out of you mentally, puts you in a mountain of debt, and in the end, is nothing more than a giant pyramid scheme that allows silver-haired shysters running law schools to become millionaires with no accountability to what they are doing to students or to society.

I've seen this scam wilt the life out of so many brilliant, young people, from the T6 on down. You should make sure you're not one of them. For every legal job out there, no matter how bad the pay or benefits, there's about 50 desperate JD grads applying. For every good legal job out there, there's about 500 desperate JD grads applying--most of which have 5 years + of experience and graduated from T14 schools. You have to either figure out how to stand out from the crowd by performing near-miracles, or your parents have to have their own firm where they can hire you.

Enter at your own risk.
Last edited by JCougar on Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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twenty
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby twenty » Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:50 pm

JCougar wrote:I don't know what the exact stats are, but 15% unemployment has to put JD grads somewhere in the range between "I got my GED at age 21" and "some community college."


Appreciating that this may be exaggeration and I'm getting wooshed a bit, I keep seeing this sentiment of "you're actually even less employable as a JD" and I don't fully understand it. Aren't the same boomers that tell people they can do anything with a JD the boomers that are looking to fill non-JD required positions in the rest of the work force? I have some degree of difficulty imagining an employer going "well, we would have hired you if you'd just been a homeless liberal arts grad, but since you went to law school, we're not going to."

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby badgerdude » Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:57 pm

twenty wrote:
JCougar wrote:I don't know what the exact stats are, but 15% unemployment has to put JD grads somewhere in the range between "I got my GED at age 21" and "some community college."


Appreciating that this may be exaggeration and I'm getting wooshed a bit, I keep seeing this sentiment of "you're actually even less employable as a JD" and I don't fully understand it. Aren't the same boomers that tell people they can do anything with a JD the boomers that are looking to fill non-JD required positions in the rest of the work force? I have some degree of difficulty imagining an employer going "well, we would have hired you if you'd just been a homeless liberal arts grad, but since you went to law school, we're not going to."


The problem is that a lot of employers view a JD as a negative because they know that once a JD requiring job pops up you will take that in an instant. For the same reason Wal-Mart would prefer a non college graduate, they know you aren't going to be the most reliable. Being over-qualified is a real and scary thing.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby Skool » Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:06 pm

twenty wrote:I keep seeing this sentiment of "you're actually even less employable as a JD" and I don't fully understand it. Aren't the same boomers that tell people they can do anything with a JD the boomers that are looking to fill non-JD required positions in the rest of the work force? I have some degree of difficulty imagining an employer going "well, we would have hired you if you'd just been a homeless liberal arts grad, but since you went to law school, we're not going to."


Yeah, flight risk is real worry if you need to depend on someone to show up for the next 2-3 years and do a good job.

I would also add the question of damaged goods. At least the art history major hasn't washed out of a chosen industry: he just hasn't been given a chance. What did this J.D. do to fuck up his career to need me to give him a job? I'd rather go with someone who hasn't had a chance to demonstrate success than go with someone who has already demonstrated failure.

Also, there's a special kind of disqualification in the legal industry when you have a J.D.. Being a paralegal. If you're a lawyer drafting a brief, do you really want a paralegal with a J.D. in your office? Will that person follow orders or will they more likely to substitute their judgment for your judgment.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby twenty » Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:11 pm

That makes more sense when you're talking about somewhere like Wal-Mart where "I decided I'd much rather get screamed at by angry customers and have zero possibility of upward mobility than use my major in history" is pretty easily spotted as disingenuous. But the profile of someone who "doesn't want to practice law" seems fairly benign as far as a flight risk goes. Sure, maybe some employers catch on and figure out that you're going to bail as soon as you're capable, but alternatively maybe the employee realizes (or actually is from the start) they're happier working in a non-legal job.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby Skool » Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:15 pm

You'd have to sell it, which is already an uphill climb.

It's a buyers market for labor in America. It's easier to just not take a chance and find someone totally and undoubtedly committed rather than take a chance on a J.D. flaking out.

You're super familiar with PI hiring, right twenty? It's pretty much the same thing those guys do, even if you're just hiring a guy to answer your phones.

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twenty
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby twenty » Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:25 pm

I guess I buy that. It bothers me that "totally and undoubtedly committed" is most likely due to the fact that an undergrad with an art history major is perceptually willing to cut off a testicle in exchange for a job that paid money, which means their marketability is permanently stunted when they have no ability to flake out. It's kind of reminiscent of the 90s when large corporations would hire ex-cons because the companies knew the ex-cons couldn't find anything else.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:37 pm

twenty wrote:
JCougar wrote:I don't know what the exact stats are, but 15% unemployment has to put JD grads somewhere in the range between "I got my GED at age 21" and "some community college."


Appreciating that this may be exaggeration and I'm getting wooshed a bit, I keep seeing this sentiment of "you're actually even less employable as a JD" and I don't fully understand it. Aren't the same boomers that tell people they can do anything with a JD the boomers that are looking to fill non-JD required positions in the rest of the work force? I have some degree of difficulty imagining an employer going "well, we would have hired you if you'd just been a homeless liberal arts grad, but since you went to law school, we're not going to."


From what I've witnessed myself, I think there's a number of factors at work. #1 has already been mentioned: no one wants to hire someone for a non-JD position, because the perception is that you'll bolt for a lawyer job as soon as one pops up. Having to constantly post positions and re-hire for them is a huge expense and time sink for companies. They only want to do it once and be done with it. IMO, it takes about 2 years of failing as a lawyer before employers start to believe that you're actually done with the profession. During which time, the interest on your school loans will accrue massive, additional chunks of debt.

#2 is that reality is slow to sink in for a certain segment of law grads. Sometimes it takes a year of being unemployed for it to dawn on them that they're not going to get an M&A job in NYC if the struck out at OCI, even if they have a decent financial background and went to a T25, etc. A lot of these people need to be mass-mailing and networking for shitlaw jobs, and/or doc review (you have to basically network or have prior experience to even get doc review these days) but instead, they're still sending their resumes to the likes of Cravath, the SEC, NYC corporate counsel, state AG, etc. Need to just move back in with their parents and do local shitlaw with their dad's friend, but don't want to face up to the fact that they'll never be a big city attorney.

#3 is that this whole process is extremely mentally taxing and depressing, and it's easy to start going down the tubes even before you graduate. Instances of depression are at normal levels for most incoming law students, but they literally explode soon after 1L, as reality sinks in that students have made a massive gamble on their future and even at the best of schools, close to 50% of them have lost. I think your chances of being depressed increase something like tenfold from start to finish. When people are depressed, it's hard for them to keep up their personal appearance, to continue to apply for jobs on a regular basis and be rejected again and again, keep proper grooming and lifestyle habits, etc. This decreases your chances of landing a job.

#4 could just be that some of these people are spending most of their time trying to pass the bar because they failed once, twice, or more--as the ABA Section on Legal Education continues to accredit new schools with zero admission standards, which then admit people with almost no hope of passing the bar (but squeeze as much debt-financed money out of them as possible beforehand).
Last edited by JCougar on Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:58 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby bjsesq » Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:42 pm

twenty wrote:That makes more sense when you're talking about somewhere like Wal-Mart where "I decided I'd much rather get screamed at by angry customers and have zero possibility of upward mobility than use my major in history" is pretty easily spotted as disingenuous. But the profile of someone who "doesn't want to practice law" seems fairly benign as far as a flight risk goes. Sure, maybe some employers catch on and figure out that you're going to bail as soon as you're capable, but alternatively maybe the employee realizes (or actually is from the start) they're happier working in a non-legal job.

This isn't really true. I got smoked by it (a couple employers told me that they thought I would bail) and I'm not even licensed to practice.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby AreJay711 » Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:12 pm

The real silly part is that people are taking these risks for a job that they probably don't really want that badly. I like being a lawyer, and, honestly, I think Pay As You Earn takes away a lot of the risks of not getting biglaw, but still just a pretty neutral job. The payout for putting the same financial risks (that would be dischargeable in bankruptcy) and effort into something else would probably lead to a more fulfilling outcome. And the average person would probably scrutinize that decision a lot more than their decision to matriculate.

That said, going to law school is probably the best chance for high income and decent status in your mid-20's for most people. I know I didn't have some killer alternative before law school and still don't. I also probably couldn't have raised $250k for any idea I did have. I'm not sure taking a risk to be able buy out the bar every once in a while in your 20's is such a bad gamble. (I don't do this now, but I did when I was a SA. I'm a broke-as-fuck clerk :( ).

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby WichitaShocker » Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:22 pm

Precursor to what I am going to say: Job prospects are terrible, and people truly need to do everything to minimize debt.

Now, the unemployment number is not 15.5%. The Employment score is 84.5%, leaving 15.5% not working, but the Unemployment rate is actually 12.9%* (still absurdly high, but still). There is a large difference between employment score and unemployment. It is also worth mentioning that these numbers are 9 months after graduation. I think it is very important that everyone who is considering law school have all of the information and know the risk, but let's make sure the numbers are accurate.

*the 12.9% is from the Bloomberg article that the Huff post cited.
http://mobile.businessweek.com/articles ... -graduates
Last edited by WichitaShocker on Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:28 pm

I think it's very difficult to convince an employer that they should hide a JD if the job is not a JD advantage job. Employers will think you want to bail, that you won't really want to do the job, and/or that you will want more pay. There's also the damaged goods argument, and the suspicion that if you went to law school and now don't want to be a lawyer, you don't really know what you do want (why would you go through the degree?).

I can say that PHDs have a really really hard time convincing that first employer to hire them for something non-academic, and I think the JD situation is going to be the same.

It's not like employers are hurting for good candidates.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby Pumpkin-Duke of Pie » Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:46 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:It's not like employers are hurting for good candidates.


But in a lot of ways they are, aren't they? I'm not saying that most jobs require the most competent people in the world (usually they don't), but, even among those statistically counted as college grads, there's usually quite a difference between, say, a University of Phoenix grad and someone who graduated from Big State U. Given that most people don't even go to college even today, and discounting those with degrees from "joke" institutions, if degrees are supposed to be a vetting/weeding tool then there aren't really that many good candidates.

Idk, I think it's just a lot more complicated than most arguments would lead people to believe.

EDIT: Forgot to include outsourcing and downsizing, nvm.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:02 pm

AreJay711 wrote:The payout for putting the same financial risks (that would be dischargeable in bankruptcy) and effort into something else would probably lead to a more fulfilling outcome. And the average person would probably scrutinize that decision a lot more than their decision to matriculate.


I'd have to think that it would be better economics if the government just willy-nilly started handing out $250K in small business loans each year to 40,000 people. If having a start-up economy is the key to the future of our economy, even if 75% of these businesses fail, it has to be better than backing law students' loans--most of which will never be repaid.

The sad part is law school is particularly terrible at training you how to do your job. All that government money isn't going to imbue our workforce with valuable skills. It's just going into some massive ivory tower circle jerk. There's a reason that, outside of Biglaw (which can absorb the cost of training), no one wants to hire people fresh out of law school. New law grads have very little idea as to what they're doing when they're handed a case. With how much money and time I spent, you would think I'd know how to file discovery motions soon as soon as I passed the bar--instead of looking it up and researching it at home on the weekends, so when I come into work the next week, I don't look like a total idiot.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:13 pm

JCougar wrote:I'd have to think that it would be better economics if the government just willy-nilly started handing out $250K in small business loans each year to 40,000 people. If having a start-up economy is the key to the future of our economy, even if 75% of these businesses fail, it has to be better than backing law students' loans--most of which will never be repaid.

It might be better, but the government makes money on student loans. Current projection is $127 billion over the next ten years, 3/4 of which is expected to come from loans to graduate students.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:15 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
JCougar wrote:I'd have to think that it would be better economics if the government just willy-nilly started handing out $250K in small business loans each year to 40,000 people. If having a start-up economy is the key to the future of our economy, even if 75% of these businesses fail, it has to be better than backing law students' loans--most of which will never be repaid.

It might be better, but the government makes money on student loans. Current projection is $127 billion over the next ten years, 3/4 of which is expected to come from loans to graduate students.


That's a nice, passive-aggressive way to tax people and make them nuts at the same time.

Not that the political environment would allow for straightforward tax hikes on those that actually can afford it, though...

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:20 pm

JCougar wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
JCougar wrote:I'd have to think that it would be better economics if the government just willy-nilly started handing out $250K in small business loans each year to 40,000 people. If having a start-up economy is the key to the future of our economy, even if 75% of these businesses fail, it has to be better than backing law students' loans--most of which will never be repaid.

It might be better, but the government makes money on student loans. Current projection is $127 billion over the next ten years, 3/4 of which is expected to come from loans to graduate students.


That's a nice, passive-aggressive way to tax people and make them nuts at the same time.

Not that the political environment would allow for straightforward tax hikes on those that actually can afford it, though...

Your lefty friends over at Slate are saying that it's no biggie because most of that comes from doctors and lawyers so you've got some work to do with your own people there Cougs.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby fats provolone » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:22 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
JCougar wrote:I'd have to think that it would be better economics if the government just willy-nilly started handing out $250K in small business loans each year to 40,000 people. If having a start-up economy is the key to the future of our economy, even if 75% of these businesses fail, it has to be better than backing law students' loans--most of which will never be repaid.

It might be better, but the government makes money on student loans. Current projection is $127 billion over the next ten years, 3/4 of which is expected to come from loans to graduate students.

how much of that is back loaded and tied to performance thresholds?

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:01 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Your lefty friends over at Slate are saying that it's no biggie because most of that comes from doctors and lawyers so you've got some work to do with your own people there Cougs.


The idea that most lawyers are upper class amuses me. I'd actually like to read that Slate article.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:15 pm

In case anyone thought that "it gets better" if you just stick with it in law, I'd like to introduce you to the numerous attorneys with like 20 years of experience that just applied for a near-entry level government position.

Sure, salaries of people who stick with it for 20 years look decent, but that's because like 67% of the people who couldn't make it have been weeded out and no longer pay their bar dues and/or practice law.

If I had a quarter for every mid-life lawyer I met that was just barely grinding by as a solo/at a 3-person firm, 20 years after school, I'd have no school debt myself.

This profession is pretty clearly biglaw or bust, and even at that, biglaw is a pyramid scheme that will bounce you out after 5 years, if you're lucky and sane enough to even last that long. Some more adept-at-business people will do nicely starting their own solo/boutique practices. But mostly, there's 1,000 people applying for every one good job in this industry. Unless you have a personal relationship with the people hiring, you're toast.

PSLF via a PI job is nice in theory, but there are so little PI/Government jobs out there, and to get them, you absolutely have to volunteer for 1, if not 2 years, and even then, there's no guarantee. So basically you give up salary for your first two years, and it pays for the forgiveness later.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:27 pm

And let me just add, it's VERY difficult to rebut the presumption that you are totally incompetent as a new attorney. People don't have training budgets anymore, and they just basically assume that you will have no idea what you're doing because law school doesn't teach you shit about how to handle a case. And they've been burned by experience, because they tried to hire that new attorney once, and they ended up screwing something up.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:45 pm

JCougar wrote:
If I had a quarter for every mid-life lawyer I met that was just barely grinding by as a solo/at a 3-person firm, 20 years after school, I'd have no school debt myself.

This profession is pretty clearly biglaw or bust, and even at that, biglaw is a pyramid scheme that will bounce you out after 5 years, if you're lucky and sane enough to even last that long.


This is just way overblown. Biglaw or bust is dumb. Biglaw is one of the worst outcomes from law school. It eats your soul and leaves you divorced paying half of your money to the government in taxes and the other half to ex-spouses and loans. The ideal outcomes from law school are government and eventually solo shopping. More biglaw attorneys voluntarily leave to open their own shops than continue in the bullshittery that is biglaw.

Especially NYC biglaw.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby smile0751 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:19 pm

Tag. Super interested in this conversation.

mike0331
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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby mike0331 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:06 pm

Maybe it's just the people I associate with... but I have two friends doing well and enjoying their work out of a school that most on this site would scoff at people attending. That's 2/2 of the people in my age group who have recently attended law school who are happily and gainfully employed. Neither are in "big law" FWIW.

I have no aspirations for being in anything more than a medium to small firm... maybe I'm way off the mark, but those I know who are still very intimately involved in the industry say it is not unrealistic.

Mike

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:12 pm

mike0331 wrote:Maybe it's just the people I associate with... but I have two friends doing well and enjoying their work out of a school that most on this site would scoff at people attending. That's 2/2 of the people in my age group who have recently attended law school who are happily and gainfully employed. Neither are in "big law" FWIW.

I have no aspirations for being in anything more than a medium to small firm... maybe I'm way off the mark, but those I know who are still very intimately involved in the industry say it is not unrealistic.

Mike


oh what a sample size.




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