JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

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

Postby JCougar » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:15 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:Cougar, what's your debt load, if any? I'm not going anywhere with this, I'm just curious.


Over $200K. It's pretty much keeping me from getting a normal job in a non-law industry. I'll never pay that off on a $50-60K salary in middle management somewhere. Since I doubt I'll ever get Biglaw, it's pretty much government/PI or bust for me. Might as well keep volunteering and doing temp work on the side to pay the bills until something opens up.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Sat Apr 04, 2015 8:28 pm

sparty99 wrote:Yes, it is bad. But if you are 2 years post graduation then clearly JCougar seems to be the problem.


Not true. Lots of people who eventually get government/PI jobs volunteer for 1-2 years after graduation--it's pretty much a prerequisite at this point. Budgets are still tight, and positions of any kind of value to your resume rarely open up--and when they do, there's usually a slew of T14 people that struck out applying. Either that or people already burned out of Biglaw.

I mean, this isn't really supposed to be a sob story about me--because I know dozens and dozens of people from c/o 2013 (from my school and schools better and worse than mine) that have it as bad if not worse than me. The entire point of this thread is that my outcome isn't all that uncommon. A plurality (if not outright majority) of law grads end up in a similar situation, and going to a good school doesn't make you immune. Granted, a lot of people in my position have basically started looking at non-law careers--and I might try that soon. But it just so happens that I do, in fact, really like practicing law when I get the opportunity to do substantial legal work (and not just doc review). I would be pretty happy in this industry long-term if I eventually get something. I didn't go to law school to make money or because I didn't know what else to do. I went to law school because I knew I would enjoy the various aspects of practicing law.

The thing is, there's really no plan to train entry-level JDs. Law schools don't do it, and law firms can't afford it anymore. So you're a pretty undesirable commodity on this market unless you have about 3-5 years of substantial experience. And that affects everyone.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:55 am

And here's the other thing. I could get a job tomorrow, and that would just be taking a job away from someone else. It's a zero-sum game here, and there will still be 20,000+ un(der)employed JD grads graduating each year with $150-200K of debt.

People go to law school because they're concerned about justice. And then they get this highly unjust, scammy situation shoved in their face. No one should ever think that justice comes easily or automatically, but the legal education system in this country is systemically unjust, so no matter how hard each and every one of us works, 50-75% of us are destined to get conned into signing away a good portion of our lives for something that ends up mostly being a waste of our time (since law school teaches you very little actual, real-world skills even independent of whether it gets you a job or not).

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby starry eyed » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:50 am

I love the condescending tone lawyers have towards other professions lol.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby bpolley0 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:05 pm

Cougar. I have three questions for you: what was your undergrad degree in? Did you have any debt from that? Where are you located?

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby sparty99 » Sun Apr 05, 2015 1:59 pm

JCougar wrote:And here's the other thing. I could get a job tomorrow, and that would just be taking a job away from someone else. It's a zero-sum game here, and there will still be 20,000+ un(der)employed JD grads graduating each year with $150-200K of debt.

People go to law school because they're concerned about justice. And then they get this highly unjust, scammy situation shoved in their face. No one should ever think that justice comes easily or automatically, but the legal education system in this country is systemically unjust, so no matter how hard each and every one of us works, 50-75% of us are destined to get conned into signing away a good portion of our lives for something that ends up mostly being a waste of our time (since law school teaches you very little actual, real-world skills even independent of whether it gets you a job or not).


People go to law school b/c of justice? Oh, please. Get real.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby lacrossebrother » Sun Apr 05, 2015 2:04 pm

I wouldn't want jcougar to be my secretary

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:36 pm

sparty99 wrote:People go to law school b/c of justice? Oh, please. Get real.


That's a pretty sad commentary then on our legal system.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:54 pm

bpolley0 wrote:Cougar. I have three questions for you: what was your undergrad degree in? Did you have any debt from that? Where are you located?


Irrelevant. This thread is not about me nor is it about personal advice, nor is it about self pity. It's about information. This is an example of the average outcome from anything but a T13 law school--and then even within the T13, this kind of outcome isn't necessarily rare. Everyone who strikes out at OCI faces this. Everyone that gets no-offered from their firm faces this. Everyone that gets let go from Biglaw before they have had a chance to develop enough connections for a Plan B faces this. There's very little middle ground in this job market--it's all or nothing until you get like 5 years of experience (which is enough for midlaw, in-house, or most decent FedGov positions).

FWIW, I just ran into yet another c/o 2013 grad today who thought that the money I was making in doc review was pretty good money compared to what other options are out there. He wanted to sign up. By far, I don't have it nearly as bad as others. You only make slightly more money in insurance defense, but the bosses/partners in that area are usually pretty tyrannical and the hours are bad, so a lot of people actually prefer doc review. Neither option pays you enough to make any progress on your loans, so why does it matter if you make a little less for some peace of mind? Better to be treated like a kindergartner (doc review) than like a punching bag (shitlaw).

It's very hard to find people who care about you as a person in this industry. Mostly, you are just used as a statistic to acquire loan money, an LSAT median, or billable hours, and you are discarded and left by the wayside when you are all used up. I have very good mentors where I volunteer, and they're pretty bothered by the fact that they can't pay me--but that's just the way it goes. I'll get something eventually, but I constantly have to question whether I am a fool for trying to wait this out.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:56 pm

JCougar wrote:It's very hard to find people who care about you as a person in this industry. Mostly, you are just used as a statistic to acquire loan money, an LSAT median, or billable hours, and you are discarded and left by the wayside when you are all used up. I have very good mentors where I volunteer, and they're pretty bothered by the fact that they can't pay me--but that's just the way it goes. I'll get something eventually, but I constantly have to question whether I am a fool for trying to wait this out.

How is this different from any other industry?

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Sun Apr 05, 2015 11:04 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:How is this different from any other industry?


Much less loan debt, a lot more training, not an enormous mismatch between # of graduates and # of jobs.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:07 am

JCougar wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:How is this different from any other industry?


Much less loan debt, a lot more training, not an enormous mismatch between # of graduates and # of jobs.

Right, but I meant the "people don't care about you/use you up" argument. I get that the consequences can be worse than in some other fields, but I don't think you can really expect people to act differently.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby bpolley0 » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:37 am

JCougar wrote:
bpolley0 wrote:Cougar. I have three questions for you: what was your undergrad degree in? Did you have any debt from that? Where are you located?


Irrelevant. This thread is not about me nor is it about personal advice, nor is it about self pity. It's about information. This is an example of the average outcome from anything but a T13 law school--and then even within the T13, this kind of outcome isn't necessarily rare. Everyone who strikes out at OCI faces this. Everyone that gets no-offered from their firm faces this. Everyone that gets let go from Biglaw before they have had a chance to develop enough connections for a Plan B faces this. There's very little middle ground in this job market--it's all or nothing until you get like 5 years of experience (which is enough for midlaw, in-house, or most decent FedGov positions).

FWIW, I just ran into yet another c/o 2013 grad today who thought that the money I was making in doc review was pretty good money compared to what other options are out there. He wanted to sign up. By far, I don't have it nearly as bad as others. You only make slightly more money in insurance defense, but the bosses/partners in that area are usually pretty tyrannical and the hours are bad, so a lot of people actually prefer doc review. Neither option pays you enough to make any progress on your loans, so why does it matter if you make a little less for some peace of mind? Better to be treated like a kindergartner (doc review) than like a punching bag (shitlaw).

It's very hard to find people who care about you as a person in this industry. Mostly, you are just used as a statistic to acquire loan money, an LSAT median, or billable hours, and you are discarded and left by the wayside when you are all used up. I have very good mentors where I volunteer, and they're pretty bothered by the fact that they can't pay me--but that's just the way it goes. I'll get something eventually, but I constantly have to question whether I am a fool for trying to wait this out.


Oh you mean people are interested in themselves and their own self interest? Shocking, honestly that is how any industry is and no one makes anyone else take out loan money. That was your/ other individual's choices. Anyways, sure my questions are relevant. Did you ever consider moving to a different location or doing general counsel for a business that actually helps produce goods that other people need? It is always amazing to me how people move to the east coast/ west coast for these ultra expensive degrees where rent is 3k, the taxes are ridiculous, the standard of living sucks, awful economic policies and here I am in Nebraska where rent is $340 a month and I would say if you are making over 30 to 35k you are just fine. I mean does anyone ever maybe come to the conclusion that maybe there are reasons why Warren Buffett lives here?

There are multiple people at my work that are making 70K+ with law degrees from schools with 152 median lsat scores. I know that is an outlier, but I am always amazed at people who go into law or any profession somehow expecting that because historically people have made X dollars that they are somehow entitled to X amount a year as if somehow Economics is completely irrelevant and business principles don't matter.

If you really don't like your situation just become a minimalist. If everyone does it it will ruin the economy,but hey at least people can't live off of your labor right?
Last edited by bpolley0 on Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:44 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:41 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Right, but I meant the "people don't care about you/use you up" argument. I get that the consequences can be worse than in some other fields, but I don't think you can really expect people to act differently.


Well, the "use you up" thing stems partially from the high tuition/no jobs aspect of law school that schools are well aware of. That's at least half of it, and this, to the extent that it exists in legal education, is pretty unique.

But I'm also talking about the "up or out" model of firms. Few other industries use this model as well--and none of them require law school-level debt. I mean, business consulting/accounting firms do this, but the fall back options if you're "out" are a lot more prevalent and don't require you to live in poverty--since a business degree is a lot more versatile. There's a lot more businesses out there than there are law firms.

I mean, the medical field has a pretty training-heavy, supportive infrastructure. You get the AMA making sure almost all MD's become doctors, and then you get the residencies as a bridge to practice. Most business jobs consider training new people an essential part of getting good employees--not a burden for which they are not responsible. They'll take you on with a Bachelor's, and even pay for part or all of your MBA. Same with engineering. And in most science fields, your graduate degree is completely covered by a scholarship, and a lot of places partner with local employers to immediately place people even before they finish their dissertation.

And most other fields only require an undergrad degree. I can't really think of anything that's even close to as bad as a JD--except for maybe art school or something.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:57 am

bpolley0 wrote:Oh you mean people are interested in themselves and their own self interest? Shocking, honestly that is how any industry is and no one makes anyone else take out loan money. That was your/ other individual's choices. Anyways, sure my questions are relevant. Did you ever consider moving to a different location or doing general counsel for a business that actually helps produce goods that other people need? It is always amazing to me how people move to the east coast/ west coast for these ultra expensive degrees where rent is 3k, the taxes are ridiculous, the standard of living sucks, and here I am in Nebraska making 45k paying $340 for rent for a big two bedroom. There are multiple people at my work that are making 70K+ with law degrees from schools with 152 lsat scores. I know that is an outlier, but I am always amazed at people who go into law or any profession somehow expecting that because historically people have made X dollars that they are somehow entitled to X amount a year as if somehow Economics is completely irrelevant.

If you really don't like the situation just become a minimalist. If everyone does it it will ruin the economy,but hey atleast people can't live off of your labor right?


Like I said, the point of this thread is not to offer me advice. My rent is almost as cheap as yours, I live in an extremely low COL city. I'm already a minimalist--I would choose to be one anyway, but in most law grads' cases, it's not a choice. It's an economic necessity.

I don't think you have a proper grasp on the realities of the job market, though. To get a general counsel position at a corporation, you need about 5 years experience in Biglaw. It's basically a refuge for all the people who get Biglaw who aren't going to make partner. It's not a legitimate option for people who miss out on the Biglaw boat, which is nearly 90% of all graduating JDs. And maybe around 5,000 people per year get a Biglaw Associate job, and only 5% of these people (at best) make partner, so each year, there's probably an average of 4,750 Biglaw people either quitting or getting fired. It's this labor pool from which in-house positions at corporations are filled.

But your response tells me that you're still not getting the picture. This thread is not about my particular situation, because my situation is not in any way unusual. And if I suddenly get something tomorrow, there's one less job left for the rest of the 100,000 un(der)employed law grads out there from the last 5 graduating classes. People can blame me, make up stories about me, attribute whatever individualized problems they can think of to me, etc., but that doesn't address the raw and basic statistics that show what the most common outcome from graduating law school actually is. The ABA stats say that only 57% of my national class got FT, LT legal jobs that require a JD. But most independent economic analysis suggests that this number is extremely optimistic--and that the real number is a lot closer to 45%. And even within that 45%, at least half of those jobs are shitlaw jobs that pay barely more than what I'm making right now and usually require you to work longer hours under more stressful conditions. And this, of course, is simply not enough money to ever pay off your loan debt.

That's why trying to give me personal advice is pretty much useless. That's not going to change the math, and the problem here is the math itself: way too many JDs with way to much debt, and very few real opportunities. If you are an 0L following along with this thread, you really need to consider what kind of quagmire you're getting yourself into.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:20 am

JCougar wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Right, but I meant the "people don't care about you/use you up" argument. I get that the consequences can be worse than in some other fields, but I don't think you can really expect people to act differently.


Well, the "use you up" thing stems partially from the high tuition/no jobs aspect of law school that schools are well aware of. That's at least half of it, and this, to the extent that it exists in legal education, is pretty unique.

But I'm also talking about the "up or out" model of firms. Few other industries use this model as well--and none of them require law school-level debt. I mean, business consulting/accounting firms do this, but the fall back options if you're "out" are a lot more prevalent and don't require you to live in poverty--since a business degree is a lot more versatile. There's a lot more businesses out there than there are law firms.

I mean, the medical field has a pretty training-heavy, supportive infrastructure. You get the AMA making sure almost all MD's become doctors, and then you get the residencies as a bridge to practice. Most business jobs consider training new people an essential part of getting good employees--not a burden for which they are not responsible. They'll take you on with a Bachelor's, and even pay for part or all of your MBA. Same with engineering. And in most science fields, your graduate degree is completely covered by a scholarship, and a lot of places partner with local employers to immediately place people even before they finish their dissertation.

And most other fields only require an undergrad degree. I can't really think of anything that's even close to as bad as a JD--except for maybe art school or something.

Eh, I'm pretty sure pretty much all employers are looking out for what they can get out of you. The employers you point to who who provide training etc. only do so because the economy forces them to. I just didn't agree with your characterization that you can't find someone who cares about you as a person as an issue specific to law. The structure of the profession has a lot of problems, but the people aren't any better or worse than any other profession, and other professions only appear to care for you due to economic factors.

(I also think you're wrong about lots of science fields/degrees, as well as virtually ever other PhD program out there, but that's a little beside the point, I guess.)

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby starry eyed » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:15 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
JCougar wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:Right, but I meant the "people don't care about you/use you up" argument. I get that the consequences can be worse than in some other fields, but I don't think you can really expect people to act differently.


Well, the "use you up" thing stems partially from the high tuition/no jobs aspect of law school that schools are well aware of. That's at least half of it, and this, to the extent that it exists in legal education, is pretty unique.

But I'm also talking about the "up or out" model of firms. Few other industries use this model as well--and none of them require law school-level debt. I mean, business consulting/accounting firms do this, but the fall back options if you're "out" are a lot more prevalent and don't require you to live in poverty--since a business degree is a lot more versatile. There's a lot more businesses out there than there are law firms.

I mean, the medical field has a pretty training-heavy, supportive infrastructure. You get the AMA making sure almost all MD's become doctors, and then you get the residencies as a bridge to practice. Most business jobs consider training new people an essential part of getting good employees--not a burden for which they are not responsible. They'll take you on with a Bachelor's, and even pay for part or all of your MBA. Same with engineering. And in most science fields, your graduate degree is completely covered by a scholarship, and a lot of places partner with local employers to immediately place people even before they finish their dissertation.

And most other fields only require an undergrad degree. I can't really think of anything that's even close to as bad as a JD--except for maybe art school or something.

Eh, I'm pretty sure pretty much all employers are looking out for what they can get out of you. The employers you point to who who provide training etc. only do so because the economy forces them to. I just didn't agree with your characterization that you can't find someone who cares about you as a person as an issue specific to law. The structure of the profession has a lot of problems, but the people aren't any better or worse than any other profession, and other professions only appear to care for you due to economic factors.

(I also think you're wrong about lots of science fields/degrees, as well as virtually ever other PhD program out there, but that's a little beside the point, I guess.)


yea the plight of laborer vs business owner still applies with associate/partner.

Jcougar doesn't seem to have a profound understanding of economics.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby starry eyed » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:19 am

The sentiment seems to be... but but i got a 170 on the LSAT so i deserve to make 200k a year for life.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:37 am

starry eyed wrote:yea the plight of laborer vs business owner still applies with associate/partner.

Jcougar doesn't seem to have a profound understanding of economics.


Not at all. I don't think there's any industry where turnover is so high in the first 1-5 years of your job. Unless you get some kind of government job straight out of law school, you're going to get used for billable hours and then spit out when you get too expensive. This may work out okay for some in Biglaw who are thrifty and/or don't have a lot of debt, but this model applies to small law, too, where you don't get paid enough to even make interest payments.

Turnover in law is epic compared to other industries.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Mon Apr 06, 2015 9:39 am

starry eyed wrote:The sentiment seems to be... but but i got a 170 on the LSAT so i deserve to make 200k a year for life.


Far from it. I think 90% of law grads would be happy just to get back to zero.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby JCougar » Mon Apr 06, 2015 10:11 am

starry eyed wrote:The sentiment seems to be... but but i got a 170 on the LSAT so i deserve to make 200k a year for life.


In fact, this sentiment is very easily negated by anyone actually on the legal job market. When a Staff Attorney position with Legal Aid opens up in this state, it gets like 4,000 applications for a single opening. These positions pay around $40K--about what I would make if I did doc review full-time.

Back when I lived in another state, I applied just to volunteer with legal aid, and they turned me away because they said they no longer had any office space because they had too many volunteers already--and that I should try again in a year. There are so many people willing to work for free just to get substantial experience on their resume that they don't have enough space.

Also, this should negate the notion above that everyone's in it for the money. They're not.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby jepper » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:26 pm

JCougar wrote:
starry eyed wrote:yea the plight of laborer vs business owner still applies with associate/partner.

Jcougar doesn't seem to have a profound understanding of economics.


Not at all. I don't think there's any industry where turnover is so high in the first 1-5 years of your job. Unless you get some kind of government job straight out of law school, you're going to get used for billable hours and then spit out when you get too expensive. This may work out okay for some in Biglaw who are thrifty and/or don't have a lot of debt, but this model applies to small law, too, where you don't get paid enough to even make interest payments.

Turnover in law is epic compared to other industries.


You keep making this reference to not being able to even make the interest payment. I realize that it is a fact that the average law student faces a significant amount of debt, but you say it like the average debt of all unemployed lawyers is 200k. I have a hard time believing that.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby TheSpanishMain » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:43 pm

If you're willing to give up on law, join the military and get health benefits/pslf

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby Saddle Up » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:41 pm

The fallacy of threads like this is that they encompass the results of all law schools and the legal employment nationwide.

Focusing on the top 20 law schools (using LST data) it seems that unemployment would be in single figures not 15%. Plus, the income from most firm jobs would more than satisfactorily cover tuition debt. Cannot believe that very many students at highly ranked schools are overly concerned today about landing at their feet.

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Re: JD Unemployment Reaches New High (15%)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Apr 06, 2015 1:57 pm

Saddle Up wrote:The fallacy of threads like this is that they encompass the results of all law schools and the legal employment nationwide.

Focusing on the top 20 law schools (using LST data) it seems that unemployment would be in single figures not 15%. Plus, the income from most firm jobs would more than satisfactorily cover tuition debt. Cannot believe that very many students at highly ranked schools are overly concerned today about landing at their feet.

More than 20% of your school's grads are employed by the school in temporary positions.




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