AreJay711 wrote:I actually think TLS really downplays people's chances out of these schools. Obviously we all want to be sucessful and have enough money to buy the things we want without worrying about money and these people are in that position; however, they aren't on the street and I bet that those that are unemployed after 9 months are unemployed because they are holding out for good / legal jobs. I'm not saying that TLS is wrong about the probability of desirable work (the kind that brought you to law school) nor am I saying that it is wrong about the "is law school worth it?" question but I do think TLS is wrong about how bad the bad-case scenarios are. LST numbers can even be misleadingly negative because some of those people unemployed could have gotten non-legal jobs that pay the bills (with IBR) even though no one would consider those jobs "successful outcomes."
Maybe TLS's pessimism is good in the sense that it scares people that shouldn't go to law school but would have if they had gotten a more realistic picture though.
I would agree with you that the general consensus on this discussion board comes off as pessimistic, particularly when people draw a hard line at a given school or particular class rank. However, you really do need to examine the available employment data and then push the schools you're looking at to disclose what their graduates are doing. To Fordham's credit, very few law schools disclose the percentage of graduates who received jobs funded directly by the law school. (These jobs are by definition temporary, often part-time, and absent the school providing additional information should not generally be construed as graduates landing on their feet. Sometimes they work out--I leveraged such a program to set myself up comfortably--but schools should be disclosing how many of the recipients can convert the temp jobs into something permanent.) I also understand how much easier it is to try and write off any warnings being given on these boards, particularly the ones minced with humor or ridicule. But they are not without merit, particularly when you look at the data that's available.
Just to clarify, the 'unemployed' people are those who, after nine months, reported they had still not found a job, legal or otherwise, including part-time and temporary work. In contrast, someone who reported bartending or waiting tables at night while searching for a legal job, a plan I think most would consider reasonable, would be labeled by the school as 'employed', and further in the 'business/industry' category, rather than 'unemployed and seeking'. This tends to mislead the consumer: few applicants would think "employed" constitutes part-time work on nights and weekends to pay back student loans while you spend your days networking and otherwise trying to find a way to start utilizing the very expensive degree you just purchased.
Also, a fairly significant portion of graduates in the 'JD required' category are now only finding work through temp agencies. These are widely-recognized as jobs that have little to no chance of advancement and can consist of only very menial tasks like doc review. For someone whose loans have entered repayment, once they're barred and licensed to practice they might find these jobs the best thing available. Thus even when you see a majority of graduates in JD-required positions, you still need to consider how many of them are doing work that is essentially meaningless (and certainly an understandable cause of frustration). Some of the people you will find scamblogging about how their law schools are in that exact position: Doc review (or some other unfulfilling task like selling Bar Bri books) by day, scamblogging away their frustrations at night. A few others were formerly biglaw associates who were axed in 2009-2010 and have been unable to find work because they weren't at the firm long enough to develop any legal skills and because they are viewed as pariahs by other employers. There is likely a much larger number of graduates out there who are simply too disheartened to waste time complaining about their plight on the internets.
People who are really determined to succeed in law against all the odds and are not going to land up at a top program would be advised to focus on schools that are developing training programs for solo practitioners. This would follow a reasonable conclusion that, even should you end up in the very top of your law school class thanks to your hard work and hustle, there will still be no attorneys willing to hire, mentor and/or train you to practice law in three years. The 'incubator' programs Professor Herrera is pushing for might help: http://www.law.com/jsp/tx/PubArticleTX. ... hbxlogin=1