Student Loans

hungry unemployedLaw school has been a wild ride for recent graduates since the beginning of the recession. Would-be lawyers’ employment woes have been chronicled in detail in almost every major publication since 2011, when the New York Times focused on the grim job prospects that awaited people after law school graduation.

This was not the case for all law school graduates, though. Those who were lucky enough to graduate from top-flight law schools often found themselves with jobs at large law firms. If graduates of the so-called “T14,” the upper echelon of law schools, somehow found themselves hopeless and jobless, their schools were quick to create public interest fellowship programs that would employ and pay them for a time. When those jobs ended, they were left to fend for themselves and struggle like the rest of their peers. Some graduates of superior law schools have continued to struggle for years after not being able to get their footing following the conclusion of their school-funded jobs.

Can you imagine what it must be like for one of these people to pass multiple bar exams and be unable to hold down a job? Can you imagine what it must be like to be a degree-holder from a prestigious law school drowning in so much debt that you’ve been forced to apply for food stamps and receive public assistance?

This is exactly what happened to a recent graduate of one of the best law schools in the country…

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Financial data analyzing. Counting on calculator.We can write about how financially imprudent it is to go to law school until we’re blue in the… fingertips? I guess? But for some of you, it’s just not going to sink in until you see it in cold hard numbers. Enter this handy student loan calculator that allows the user to enter their planned indebtedness and it’ll spit back the salary you need to earn in order to justify your decision.

Spoiler: law school is rarely justified…

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student-loan-debtAverage law school debt for graduates of private universities hovered around $122,000 last year. With only 57% of new attorneys actually obtaining real lawyer jobs, recent graduates have a lot to consider when it comes to managing their student loan payments. Thanks to our friends at SoFi, today’s infographic takes a look at student loan debt, including the possible benefits of refinancing for JDs…

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Amal Alamuddin Clooney

* The Fifth Circuit is allowing the Texas voter ID law to be enforced during the upcoming election, even though it was recently struck down by a federal judge. After all, “preserving the status quo” is very important down south. [Bloomberg]

* We suppose that’s why the Supreme Court stepped in to make sure that abortion clinics in Texas were allowed to reopen following their shut down. Take that, Fifth Circuit. [New York Times]

* AG Eric Holder is showing off some fancy legal footwork before he walks out the door. Federal prosecutors can no longer ask defendants to waive their IAC claims when pleading guilty. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Davis Polk & Wardwell is a Biglaw firm where hotties roam, and it looks like this top Justice Department prosecutor who started his career there is returning home there to roost. [DealBook / New York Times]

* It’s the debt: With headlines like “Law school applications plummet – at U of L too,” the University of Louisville School of Law can’t even convince alums from its undergrad school to attend. [Courier-Journal]

* Amal Alamuddin changed her name to Amal Clooney on her firm’s website. It’s as if she wants to rub the fact that she’s a human rights lawyer who just got married in everyone’s face. [New York Daily News]

Law school can ruin your life if you are not careful. It’s very expensive and the rewards are far from guaranteed. And even if you reap those rewards, you might not like what you’ve become.

But if you do everything wrong, law school becomes just a tragicomic microcosm of poor planning and bad luck.

Forbes has an article up about a woman who is $350,000 in debt and living at the poverty line. Oh, but she has a law degree, and people who haven’t been paying attention are surprised by that…

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* Because it’s been such a long time since the NFL has had a scandal, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is accused of sexual assault in a new suit. The Cowboys claim the suit is nothing but a money grab. No one knows a money grab like a franchise owner milking a new stadium partially financed by taxpayers. [USAToday]

* Dean Frank Wu explains why Hastings will survive the end of law schools. [SF Weekly]

* A pair of IP litigators, James W. Dabney and Stephen S. Rabinowitz, have jumped from Fried Frank to Hughes Hubbard. Will others be following Dabney & Rabinowitz out of Fried Frank? [Hughes Hubbard]

* “Lawyer’s ‘Torture Porn’ Past Pops Up in Pa. Governor’s Race.” OK, let’s see what you’ve got here. [Greedy Associates / FindLaw]

* An interesting breakdown of the legal scholars with the widest network of co-authors. Think of these as the most promiscuous scholars around. Actually, no. Don’t think that. [Ryan Whalen]

* Etsy sides with the USPTO and bans sales of anything branded “Redskins” on its platform. I’m not sure how smart this is since the economic teeth of the USPTO decision was to allow sites like Etsy to sell massive quantities of otherwise trademark-infringing stuff until Washington relented and opted for a new trademark-protectable name. [Etsy]

* Don’t throw peanut butter in my neighborhood (though I don’t understand the blotter… there’s no Bodega at that location). [Legal Juice]

* Lest you think law school is reasonably priced: “New IBR and PSLF provide benefits large enough that high earnings still result in nearly $100,000 in loan forgiveness for typical levels of debt for law school graduates. A lawyer earning at the 50th percentile with that debt level stands to have $147,282 forgiven, which is more than he borrowed…” [New America Education Policy Program]

* Keeping in touch with your inner child to relate to witnesses as humans. [Katz Justice]

* Closing out this football-heavy NS, friend of the blog Mitchell Epner discusses why Roger Goodell won’t (and shouldn’t) survive the fallout of the Ray Rice scandal. Check out the video after the jump… [CNBC]

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J.D. = Just Debt

* Baker & McKenzie was bumped from the top spot in the Global 100 last year when DLA Piper swooped in to steal the firm’s glory. This year, B&M is back with a vengeance, and richer than ever. Take that, DLA dopes. [Am Law Daily]

* “I’m pretty sure I just got fired.” Before the bud business was big enough for Biglaw, the mere suggestion of going green was allegedly enough to warrant some pretty major disciplinary action from a leading law firm. [National Law Journal]

* Judge Thomas Griesa is toying with holding Argentina in contempt for saying that it didn’t default. Argentina struck back with the social media hashtag #GrieFault. Clever. [DealBook / New York Times]

* Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team has an expert who says that any jury in Massachusetts will be tainted because of the “inflammatory” news coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing. [WSJ Law Blog]

* The ABA’s new Task Force on the Financing of Legal Education held its first public hearing to try to figure out why law school tuition is high. The ABA is so late to the party it’s not even funny. [ABA Journal]

For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about law school hoping that it would help would-be law students make an informed decision. I exposed some misperceptions about law school that no one discussed. I also suggested some cost-effective and possibly lucrative alternatives to a legal education. And I wrote about some last-minute things to consider before going to law school.

But some of you will still go to law school for the wrong reasons and pay rip-off prices. Ego, familial expectations, and peer pressure may play a role in your decision. So I want to finish the law-school-themed posts by issuing a warning to students and their parents about the consequences of graduating without a meaningful job and with six figure, nearly nondischargeable student loan debt….

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In fairness, if you’re writing the newspaper for advice, you probably aren’t expecting the most sage counsel. Still, these ersatz Ann Landerses really outdid themselves in giving shockingly terrible advice about going to law school. One would think an advice columnist would at least look into the merits of the questions they’re asked. It really doesn’t require all that much research to confirm the basic truths about what lies ahead for those who enter the legal profession without thinking it through.

But with the most WASPy advice ever, this paper advises a concerned reader to just ignore all the problems with going to a TTT in order to maintain social niceties….

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‘Should I get my money back? NO! I LOVE COOLEY!’

* Since October Term 2013 came to an end, people have changed their views about the Supreme Court. Conservatives think it’s more conservative, and liberals think it’s less liberal. Funny how that works. [Pew Research Center]

* “If a U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage looks inevitable, perhaps it is.” Given how quickly lower courts are issuing marriage equality victories, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll have a SCOTUS case to follow. [Bloomberg]

* Pre-law students still care about law school pedigree — as they rightfully should. Sure, scholarships are great and all, but attending a school where you’ll have a prayer of getting a job after graduation is even greater. [National Law Journal]

* Speaking of pedigree, there’s a new law school ranking in town, and Yale isn’t even in the Top 5. If that doesn’t smack of legitimacy, then we don’t know what does. We’re rolling our eyes here. [InsideCounsel]

* Cooley Law’s Ann Arbor campus may close, and students who go to the school are reportedly “pretty devastated.” Stop crying and take advantage of your loan discharge opportunities, you dopes. [MLive.com]

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