Student Loans

A bright, 23-year-old woman is thinking of going to law school. Should she do it?

Let’s learn about the particulars of her case….

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Elie wishes he had taken the nuggets.

* What can law firms learn from Folgers crystals? Maybe how to provide legal services rich enough to be served to America’s finest corporations. [What About Clients?]

* A look at what $100,000 in law school loans could have purchased instead — e.g., 505,050 chicken nuggets from Wendy’s. [Constitutional Daily]

* What kind of “reasonable accommodations” are alcoholics entitled to in the workplace? A three-martini mojito lunch sounds good to me. [Overlawyered]

* Some thoughts from Henry Blodget on Groupon and the SEC-mandated “quiet period.” Any thoughts, readers, on Blodget’s take on attorney/client privilege? [Business Insider]

* Professor Ann Althouse on the exoneration of Justice David Prosser (noted in Morning Docket): “A justice is despised because his decisions do not please liberals, and so, without thought, they forgot about things liberals like to love themselves for caring about, such as fairness and due process.” [Althouse]

Is it wrong to find Justin Bieber totally hot? Just askin'....

* E-discovery is moving to the cloud. What are the opportunities and the risks? Ben Kerschberg and Bret Laughlin discuss. [Forbes]

* Speaking of e-discovery, the DISH Network and Redgrave LLP are sponsoring an e-discovery research and writing competition, open to law students. [dishdiscovery]

* Law librarian Joe Hodnicki weighs in on the controversy over ScamProf aka Paul Campos and his controversial blog. [Law Librarian Blog]

* If you share Staci’s opinion that Justin Bieber “kind of looks like a girl,” here’s some support for your viewpoint. [Fashionista]

* The American Constitution Society is holding an online symposium in honor of the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial. [ACSblog]

We write about depressing news for law students and law school graduates all too often these days, which is a very, very sad thing. We know that you don’t want to be reminded about the impending doom you may soon face. We really do wish that we had more positive news to report. But in this economy, it’s just not possible.

Gone are the days when earning a JD meant having automatic employment prospects. Gone are the days when having student loans wasn’t completely debilitating. These days, the JD has taken on a new meaning. It doesn’t just mean Juris Doctor anymore. These two are a little more fitting: Job Dilemma and Jumbo Dumbass.

The Connecticut Law Tribune has come out with an informative piece just in time for new 1Ls to realize that they may have embarked upon a six-figure mistake….

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We know how much our readers love rankings, so as we mentioned in Morning Docket, the National Jurist has released the fifth annual list of the 60 Best Value law schools in its preLaw magazine. As it stands, the list remains unranked, but the final grades for the honor roll are expected in October.

The Best Value ranking typically takes into account the following criteria: in-state tuition, average student debt, the percentage of graduates employed nine months after graduation, and bar passage rates.

But this year, the National Jurist made some adjustments to its rankings methodology to account for “fairness.” It now takes into account averages for bar passage rates and post-graduation employment over the past two years. And even if a law school didn’t meet one of these important standards, the school wasn’t automatically excluded from consideration. Everyone gets a trophy in this year’s Best Value rankings.

You may be surprised at some of the law schools that made this year’s Best Value honor roll. Check and see if your school made the list, after the jump….

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Are there people out there who don’t think we’re heading for a student loan default crisis? That’s a serious question. I’m wondering if there are actual professionals out there who think that student debts are a safe bet? If so, can those people be exiled to one of the PIGS countries where they can breed in their natural habitat?

Today we have more evidence that the student loan market is headed for disaster. We live in a world where the cost of education has become completely disassociated from the value that the education provides. The tuition is too damn high, and there aren’t enough high paying jobs available for all of the young people with enormous debt.

For many recent college graduates, default is inevitable. The numbers are starting to catch up with reality….

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Under new management?

There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about how law schools are failing to adequately prepare recent graduates for the working world. Because after having your nose in a book for three years, let’s face it, you probably don’t know how to do “useful things with the law” that would actually help a client.

Law schools have also been under fire for their apparently inability to employ recent graduates in the legal work force. While some law schools are simply gaming their employment numbers, others are creating temporary employment opportunities so their graduates can be employed at graduation.

And in the spirit of killing two birds with one stone, law schools may soon have a solution for both of these problems. Instead of inventing temporary jobs to make you “practice-ready,” they might invent a whole law firm….

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You've got to be kidding me with this...

In mid-July, we wrote about Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and his quest to get answers from the American Bar Association about the future of legal education in this country. Grassley’s inquiry came on the heels of a similar request from Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Steven Zack of the ABA responded quickly, making sure to pass a great deal of the blame off on the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar.

Grassley was apparently unimpressed with the response he received from the ABA, so last week he fired back with a shorter (and snarkier) list of questions.

Recall that Zack’s last response to Grassley touted that “no one could be more focused on the future of our next generation of lawyers than the ABA.” Will those be Zack’s famous last words in this debate?

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I don't care how it works, just give me my degree.

My wife and I have made this proposal to our Harvard creditors: they forgive our debt, we give the school a baby. A “pure-bred” Harvard baby that Harvard can dress up or perform experiments on or whatever. It will have to be a black baby, which might underwhelm some Harvard officials, but that’s got to be canceled out by the fact that the media won’t much care about what Harvard wants to do to/with a black baby. The “where’s the justice of Caylee????!!!!!” crowd won’t be on their ass.

I think it’s an elegant solution. My wife thinks I’m getting off easy (because my “contribution” to this form of debt repayment would once again be de minimis). And our creditors say: “We only accept straight cash, homey.”

But I’m just ahead of my time. In the U.K., people are already suggesting that indebted students should be given the opportunity to barter down their loans with sacrifices of the flesh….

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I recently graduated from a state school in the California State University system as a Philosophy major. My original plan was to go to law school, but I am now thinking I may want to go into accounting instead (due to the terrible job market for lawyers and the 150k debt I’d be faced with).

Particularly, I would like to work at a Big 4 firm. Is this change possible?

— from a question sent into the advice column of Going Concern (the accounting world’s answer to Above the Law). Note the questioner’s less-than-stellar undergraduate GPA.

The worst thing about being betrayed is the loss of innocence and optimism that forever changes the victim of the betrayal. The reality is so stark you can literally see it on people’s faces as they realize the extent to which an ally has turned on them. Robert the Bruce saw it on William Wallace’s face in Braveheart. My wife saw it on my face when Obama agreed to the debt ceiling deal. And you are going to see it on the faces of the young and educated when they realize that, once again, the president has sold them down the river for the cause of electoral expediency, even as Obama’s numbers drop so low that his heat can only be measured in Kelvin degrees.

In the total debt ceiling cave-in that will mark Barack Obama as the most successful Republican president since Ronald Reagan, there was one cut that really illustrates how little the president cares for his young, college-educated constituents. To save about $26.3 billion dollars, the debt ceiling deal eliminates the graduate student loan subsidy. That means that law students (and other grad students) will continue accruing interest on their non-dischargeable educational loans throughout their graduate studies.

I can see why they call education the “silver bullet,” because education certainly seems like a surefire way to kill one’s economic future….

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