Unemployed Law Student Will Hand Back Degree For Tuition Refund

An out of work Boston College law student wrote an open letter to his college’s dean with an unusual proposition.

Miserable about his job prospects and weighed down by debt, he offered to give up his law degree if he could get his tuition money back.

“With fatherhood impending, I go to bed every night terrified of the thought of trying to provide for my child AND paying off my J.D, and resentful at the thought that I was convinced to go to law school by empty promises of a fulfilling and remunerative career,” the student wrote on the EagleiOnline blog, an independent student-run site for BC law students.

He lobbed criticism at the career services department for doing little to help him and other fellow students find work.

“I’d like to propose a solution to this problem: I am willing to leave law school, without a degree, at the end of this semester,” he wrote. “In return, I would like a full refund of the tuition I’ve paid over the last two and a half years.”

In their official response to the post, the school said “no institution of higher education can make a guarantee of a job after graduation” and recommended that anyone worried about their job prospects should contact the Career Services office.

They did not specify on whether they would be taking the student up on his offer.

Open Letter to Interim Dean Brown [EagleiOnline]


Edit Your Comment

  1. RandomHookup says:

    He hasn’t graduated yet…kinda hard to get a job without the law degree.

    I do expect he won’t be the most popular kid at the student-faculty mixer.

    • jmhart says:

      I think the point is that this close to graduation, historically most students already have a job lined up.

      • RandomHookup says:

        For a law school like BC, what’s the usual timeline for most students to have jobs? I know there’s an upfront process in 3L for the top firms that used to finish in about December with decisions, but is it that high a percentage of the class?

        I recruit MBAs and, though similar, the process is a little different. Most of the students at the top schools have jobs by March or April, though offers go out as early as October/November. Former interns usually get an offer by the time they return to school.

        In some ways, I was commenting on the reference to the student as “unemployed”…he may not have an offer yet, but he’s not really unemployed.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        That would be reasonable if the unemployment levels weren’t as high – when I graduated undergrad, we were still about a year away from complete job market decimation. I think he needs to adjust his expectations just a little. Having no law degree is worse than having a law degree, and working for lower wages at the county courthouse. He might not be making $500,000 but he’s providing for his family doing what he intended to do, which is be a lawyer – remember, you’re a lawyer if you’ve passed the bar and are certified – that’s something you are regardless of whether you’re toiling away at some nonprofit or whether you’re making $500,000 a year.

    • Karita says:

      I hear where he’s coming from. Four years after law school, and I only just got a real job. I went to a good school, had respectable internships, good grades and all the stupid stuff you need to get ahead. Nobody is hiring. It got worse for the classes after mine – people with job offers had them taken away. In law school, you are (traditionally) supposed to have a job before graduating. It’s terrifying to realize your life dream, and then discover you have no employment prospects.

      Career services at my school blew me off, as well. I saw the dismal future while I was in law school, but never thought it would take so long to have even a shot at being able to make it and pay my bills. Law schools are full of crap when they say 90+% of people have jobs at graduation. They counted my friends who ended up selling clothes and perfume at Macy’s.

      Yes, I’m angry. And yes, I empathize 100% with the op.

      • mindaika says:

        The issue, as I also learned in law school, is this:

        The statement: “The school’s Web site says 97.6 percent of the Class of 2009 got jobs in law firms, government, business or academia, with a median “private sector” salary of $160,000; $35,000 in the “public sector” and $57,000 in “government.”

        People, like me, read this statement as “97.6% of graduates got legal jobs, making $160k in the private sector, $35k in the public sector, or $57k in the governement.” That is not what this statement actually says though.

        What is really means is: “9 months after graduation (almost all law schools use this time frame), 97.6% of graduates had some kind of job (not too surprising, since loan repayments start 6 months after graduation, and you kinda need a job to pay rent and stuff). Of the people who actually got legal jobs (not 97.6% of the class), those who got jobs in the private sector and reported their incomes had an average of $160k. Please note that we heavily target our income report requests at people at large firms, and ‘modify’ salaries earned at temporary jobs to reflect unrealistic expectations.”

        • Azzizzi says:

          There’s a book called, “How to Lie with Statistics.” It was published in 1954 and uses a very similar example to this one.

          • nybiker says:

            And there’s a more recent book, entitled “Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception” that also talks about, well, deceptions when it comes to numbers and such things. I’ve always been a cynic, but after I read that book earlier this month, it just served to confirm what I’ve always believed: Don’t trust anybody when it comes to numbers. Ok, that might be a stretch, but you’ve got to understand the terms and know the presenter’s agenda. Something along the lines of “If they want you to read it, it is propaganda, but if they don’t, then it’s news.”

          • OnePumpChump says:

            The fact that most people don’t know what “median” or “mean” mean, let alone any other statistical terms, makes it even easier than that.

        • Jevia says:

          That’s what the problem is. Law schools advertise that 95%+ graduates have jobs and the median salary is $160,000, without specifying that its “legal” jobs, “permanent” jobs or “full-time” jobs and the “median salary” bit is only of those that bother replying to the salary info, which tend to be those with the higher paying jobs.

          In actuality, its closer to 10% of graduates get those $160,000 jobs (plus or minus depending on which school you go to) and even those working at Burger King are considered “employed” after graduation. They also don’t tell you that those few $160,000 jobs are pretty much only found in NYC at the top mega-firms. Top firms in other markets, like Los Angeles, Chicago, Wash DC are around $145,000.

          A law school education may still be valuable, but more people need to know what they are getting into, the debt they are undertaking and a realistic view on job (and income) prospects after graduation.

          Just as an example, a friend of mine, who was making good money in her career after 10 years, decided to go to law school, thinking she’d make better money. With a six figure debt she’s paying back at $2,000 a month, she initially made less money. After four years, she’s still only making slightly more than she was before law school, far less than what she expected based on the “representations” from the lawschool. True she may eventually earn much more, but in the meantime, her disposable income is $2,000 less a month, quite an impact.

        • nybiker says:

          I feel like we need to clarify the definition of median.

          “…numeric value separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. The median of a finite list of numbers can be found by arranging all the observations from lowest value to highest value and picking the middle one. If there is an even number of observations, then there is no single middle value; the median is then usually defined to be the mean of the two middle values.”
          For example,

          For an odd number of values
          We will calculate the sample median for the following set of observations: 1, 5, 2, 8, 7.
          Start by sorting the values: 1, 2, 5, 7, 8.
          In this case, the median is 5 since it is the middle observation in the ordered list.

          For an even number of values
          We will calculate the sample median for the following set of observations: 1, 5, 2, 8, 7, 2.
          Start by sorting the values: 1, 2, 2, 5, 7, 8.
          In this case, the average of the two middlemost terms is (2 + 5)/2 = 3.5. Therefore, the median is 3.5 since it is the average of the middle observations in the ordered list.

          The median of a set of values is NOT the average. The first example above the sums to a total of 23. The average value is 4.6 (23/5).

          I don’t know the response rates that BC used to publish its stats, and without them it is quite difficult to even come to know how good or bad their graduates are doing in the job market.

          Regardless, I feel for the guy and IANAL, but I am an unemployed computer system administrator (OpenVMS FTW).

          • Elcheecho says:

            also relevant is whether they include 0’s in the calculation. there are pretty valid reasons for going either way.

        • Mom says:

          Part of the problem is that only a small, small percentage of graduates get those $160k jobs, but on the first day of law school, everyone thinks they’re going to get that kind of job when they graduate. I have a friend who was near the top of her class at a top law school, and got one of those $57k jobs as a prosecutor in the DA’s office. Okay, it was more like $35k, but this was 10 years ago. She made less than I made with my BS degree in computer science. She loves the job and is good at it, but if she had a pile of student loans, she wouldn’t have been able to swing it.

          A second problem is that even the people who get those $160k jobs find out after about a week that corporate law is mind numbing, soul sucking work. But at that point, they’ve got all those loans to pay off…

          • tsukiotoshi says:

            I know I never thought I’d be making $160k because I never wanted, and still do not want, to work for a firm. Unfortunately, nobody is hiring so, $160k, $20k, whatever, I’ll take it if it I’m making money and getting experience for my legal career.

            I keep hearing it is getting better but nobody is interested in training a young lawyer, so everyone wants 3-5 years of experience, at least. I apply anyway, because hey why not, but I haven’t had an interview for anything in months. I, too, graduated with honors, have good internships under my belt, did law review, etc.

            But, not ready to turn in the degree yet, damn it!

      • mandy_Reeves says:

        right!!!! I went to school for medical coding and billing…the instructors boasted of a 100 percent hire rate after graduation…but hired to do WHAT was what they didn’t tell you. No one in my class of august 2008 got a job in the field. As far as I know it still is that way. …Our accreditation was really looked down on when we were up against other more experienced people who had just gotten laid off. So the economy tanking had a part to do with this too.

      • shadowboxer524 says:

        Perhaps I have a limited view on this topic, but in my experience, the people who work in Career Services are the ones who were never able to make a career themselves.

      • Nap says:

        I’m glad that it’s not a “given” that students will be employed as lawyers right after graduation. It will help ensure that only the best, most qualified new lawyers are out there protecting our government and our citizens’ rights.

        • kujospam says:

          Well, I can tell you are a complete moron with a statement like that. I thought people earned law degrees. And If you get one and pass the bar, that means you are qualified to practice. Perhaps what they should do is make it pass/fail. To satisfy your appetite of failure.

    • c!tizen says:

      I’ll award him 50 honorary internet points if he graduates and then successfully sues the school for his tuition.

    • sleze69 says:

      I swear that Phil has been using Ben’s logon for some of these posts. But I will bite anyway. My college’s career services department was absolutely worthless. I had to bust my ass to get a job out of grad school with no help from them.

  2. obits3 says:

    I think that he is being a little short sighted…

  3. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    This sounds like a case of buyer’s regret. While I can empathize with his situation, he still received an agreed upon service from the school: classes, in exchange for payment. They didn’t guarantee him a job, or even job prospects. As we’ve seen recently, schools that even imply that they can secure jobs for graduates can get into a heap of issues.

    I paid $160,000 for a degree that I do not use. The school did not force me to attend it, nor did they dictate what my major and minors should be. Those were all my choices. Because my decisions turned out to ultimately be poor ones does not make my university responsible.

    I did, however, build my practical skills and, while I’m not in a position I want to make a career, I’m making decent money and able to support myself.

    In the end, it’s about taking care of ones own needs, and not relying on any other person or entity to do it for us.

    • peebozi says:

      What’s your problem? he isn’t demanding anything! He’s simply offering a proposal for their consideration. they have the right to decline his offer, he is not attempting to force this upon them.

      you just ate the $160,000 that you paid for a private education and went on with your life only bringing it up once every 5 minutes (probably, I’m guessing by the way you pat yourself on the back for being taken like a first-time visitor to a carnival).

      you may have even relied on other people to help you “build my practical skills” (whatever that means) and there are people who may even rely on you and you don’t know it. though you’d have every right to take personal responsibility and kick them to the curb as soon as you realized someone relied on you.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I totally agree. This is something he regrets because he got too deep, was suddenly faced with financial obligations he was not prepared to meet (family, child), and now he’s got buyer’s remorse. A ton of people every year graduate only to find themselves with a bit of buyer’s remorse. Hindsight is 20/20. Everyone has to deal with these situations – he don’t get to unlearn the things that the college has taught, so the college shouldn’t have to refund his money. The college did what it was supposed to do – it supplied education. It was his choice on what to do with that education.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Wow, I paid $15K for a graduate degree that I don’t use. State schools FTW!

      Seriously, though, just because you’re not in the same field doesn’t mean the program wasn’t useful. Most grad programs impart how to properly research, annotate, and analyze data in some way or another, depending on the area of study. You could learn all that for a lot less, maybe, but it’s not necessarily completely useless just because you’re in a different field.

    • Suburban Idiot says:

      I don’t think it’s true that schools that even offer a hint of certain job prospects get into a heap of issues. The for-profit schools are getting scrutinized for such promises or implied promises, but traditional institutions of higher learning seem to be getting off scot-free.

      I can’t tell you how many times I was told during my undergraduate degree program (at a large, state school in Texas) that I would be able to “write my own ticket” and that I would have multiple job offers in my field upon graduation. I finished the degree at the top of my class and wasn’t able to get any job offers in my field or anywhere else. Immediately after school, the best job I could find was the job I had before I went back to finish school. Of the graduating class in my major that year, exactly zero people were able to get jobs in the industry within two years of graduation. As far as I know, none of my fellow graduates work in the field now, either.

      And this was more than ten years ago, so it wasn’t related to the current financial meltdown.

      Granted, I always took the promises with a grain of salt when they were being made, so I didn’t get the degree based on those promises. I was hopeful that I could get a job in the field, but the words, while they did lead to some disappointment after I found out my professors were all full of crap regarding the job market, weren’t what had gotten me in and through the program.

      So, I wouldn’t go so far as to ask for a refund, but I could see how someone who took those words to heart and spent the money to get a degree that initially only qualified them to do the job they had before they got the degree would be angry and feel cheated.

  4. Muddie says:

    Welcome to life kid. Sucks, but sometimes that’s just the way the cards get dealt.

    Finish school, be a good father and husband, and get a job to pay your bills but never stop perusing your dream (though it sounds like you already have).

    • jmhart says:

      Sounds like his dream was to try to get rich, not to be a lawyer.

      • Darkrose says:

        True. That’s the problem with lawyers: Too many go in thinking they want to get rich rather than really doing whatever it is they are pursuing.

        • Karita says:

          I think a lot want to do something besides get rich. But after paying law school tuition, there is little option to do anything but try to get rich. The student loans from law school are crushing many of my classmates and colleagues, and the student loan relief programs aren’t a big help. My goals changed dramatically as I watched my debt blow past six figures and keep on going.

          • Darkrose says:

            Oh, I know — I’m staring down the barrell of $44k/yr tuition bill for my first choice law school but fortunately I have a benefactor to help me out a bit (ok, a LOT) and scholarships and grants are helping me out the rest of the way. I’ve still got a year or so to think about going to law school, so I’m not TOO worried about it (this is a mid-life career change for me).

            The thing is there’s a TON more that can be done with a JD that doesn’t involve the normal lawyer stuff. Teaching comes to mind right off the bat. Just because a law firm isn’t hiring doesn’t mean that jobs aren’t out there to be had. I’ve seen a pretty decent spate of corporate lawyer jobs here and there. I don’t see what the big deal is. The economy stinks right now, do what you gotta do to survive.

            (I work technical support for a big company while I go to school to pay the bills. I used to be a server/db admin. I took this job so I can focus on school when I’m home)

            • Powerlurker says:

              Unfortunately, most good in-house counsel jobs go to people who’ve already done their time in a law firm.

          • harrier666 says:

            Exactly. I’m a 1L now, but never would have attended if I had to pay full tuition. I chose a lower ranked school simply because I will graduate with virtually no law school debt (due to a scholarship, and a part time program which allows me to work as I go to school). If my law degree pays off and I get to practice in one of the areas I want (note: not a huge firm, but not a ‘save the planet’ area either) I’ll be happy. If I can’t find legal work, I already feel this education is paying off with a better understanding of how the world around me works and the power that goes with that. Plus, I continue working on my tech career on the side. All I’ve lost is a bit of sleep.

            I’ve seen in my previous career, and I will see in this one, the people who spent 100k+ to work side by side with someone who spent far less. And people who have been, and will be, forced to work at a big soul sucking firm just to pay the bills. Eventually, if they stick with it, they will make more than me, but I’m pretty happy with the journey I hope to take.

          • zekebullseye says:

            Welcome to the dilemma of the medical student. With huge debt, do you go into a high paying specialty and be able to pay off your debt eaasily or go into primary care and live like a pauper (and work like a dog)

          • zekebullseye says:

            Welcome to the dilemma of the medical student. With huge debt, do you go into a high paying specialty and be able to pay off your debt eaasily or go into primary care and live like a pauper (and work like a dog)

      • Downfall says:

        The number of lawyers who have a “dream job” is small enough that it might as well be zero. If you dream of fighting for the little guy or making a difference in the world, then law school is a terrible, terrible place to go. The only valid reason to go to law school is if you view it as a mechanism to make a lot of money, and have a realistic path to get there. BC used to be a decent stepping stone, but in this economy not so much. Unfortunately, many lawyers end up doing document review (looking at documents others have generated to determine if they’re relevant to a case, privileged, etc.) on a “permatemp” basis or worse.

        //Not rich yet, but working on it.

        • jessjj347 says:

          If you’re doing document review, you may have to compete with a lot of IT people in the near future if you’re not already…
          In fact, why not learn something about IT and then go consult for lawyers? They have tons of documents you could organize for them :)

        • tsukiotoshi says:

          I completely disagree with you. I am one of those that went to law school to make a difference, not money. Over the course of my internships and job hunts I have met a number of attorneys working in amazing jobs where they really do get to make a difference, in a positive way. The jobs exist, it’s just convincing someone to give it to you and hoping people retire sometime in the near future.

          Man, I thought I was jaded!

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    A college degree grants you the opportunity to obtain careers beyond what the degree is for.

    The guy hasn’t even tried yet, and he doesn’t actually have a degree.

    If after 2 years he can’t get a law job, THEN he can whine about it.

    • tiatrack says:

      He can save himself some time and just whine now. I can’t count the number of unemployed lawyers I’ve met in just the past few months. There are very few law jobs for new grads. That said, he should have known this before he went to school. Law school isn’t that long, and the lack of attorney jobs has been happening for several years now.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        There are numerous clerical position he can obtain with that degree until the job market improves, as well as countless other jobs which would hire a law degree graduate.

        Hence my comment “A college degree grants you the opportunity to obtain careers beyond what the degree is for.”

        • Karita says:

          Law degrees are different. Who wants to hire a lawyer for a clerical position? It’s obvious they’re going to move into something different once the market for lawyers opens up. Like most people with graduate degrees, lawyers who try to get into a different field end up being horribly overqualified. You know how I ended up with a waitressing position? By taking all my higher education off my job application, and stating that my job for the past however-many years was as a receptionist. I hated lying, but the first time I did that, I got a call back from the employer.

          What are these countless other jobs? Aside from the waitressing position, I applied for well over 1,000 positions over four years – legal and otherwise. I had just a handful of interviews, and no offers. There are so many unemployed professionals right now, that the competition is horrendous. I know a lawyer who put up an ad for a part-time contract position paying $12 per hour, and in 2 days he had 300 applications.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            One of my friends works at a courthouse and she says that they get lots of recent law graduates who need jobs – they’re not trying court cases, obviously, but they’ve got jobs doing law-related things, like going over briefs and preparing summaries. It pays little to nothing, but it’s experience and it’s work.

            • Karita says:

              Those are good jobs experience-wise, but in my state they pay minimum wage, and they are temporary part-time gigs. That’s not going to work for people that didn’t have full or almost full-scholarships, or family that helped them out.

              I was lucky enough to find a few of my own clients, and did a good enough job that I got a decent reputation, which led to a job offer from a place I never applied. But the four years of worrying took a serious toll on my health that I am not sure I’ll recover from. I’m more or less happy now, but I don’t think it was worth it. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t have even gone to college. Law school, and higher education in general, is a huge scam. Heck, even students from Yale Law are struggling right now.

              • pecan 3.14159265 says:

                A lot of people are struggling, but I don’t see how it’s reasonable to quit when you’re only a year from being done. You can’t be “sort of a lawyer” and you can’t “sort of” practice law, or get a real job in which you’re responsible for giving legal advice (as in being part of the legal department at a business) if you don’t have a law degree and have passed the bar.

              • halfcuban says:

                Higher education is a scam? Orly? So you plan to get one of those awesome manufacturing jobs out there? Oh wait they all require various levels of certification and vocational school as well. And how do you expect to work in management? Magically get promoted up with no B.A. or B.S.?

                Look, I’m not impartial to the vagaries of the job market, as I myself only secured a job 5 months out of grad school, but this nonsense that you would have been “better off” is nonsense. Jobs on the lower end are reeling just as much, or have you not witnessed the huge factory and construction layoffs? Yes, there are random, poorly paying service industry jobs out there, but does that a career make? No.

            • ludwigk says:

              Some of these clerkships do not pay money. I don’t mean that they pay poorly, I mean that you do not receive compensation for them, and are a volunteer. Although valuable experience, not everyone can donate 6 months/year of their time like this.

      • tsukiotoshi says:

        When I started three years ago everyone I talked to in the environmental law field said, “Oh great, it is an expanding field, we’re always looking for excited young attorneys, blah blah blah.” Go figure.

  6. jmhart says:

    I think he’s whining a bit much.

    Personal responsibility: It was his decision to leave his teaching career to go to law school, it was his decision to take out student loans to pay for law school, it was his (and his wife’s) decision to get pregnant at this moment of financial uncertainty….sure, it’s tough not being able to get a job, but dude, buck up.

    Being someone that was stupid enough to take out $100,000 in student loan debt and then smart enough to pay it off very quickly, I say there is really no reason to ever take on student loan debt. Students loans are one of the biggest plagues facing our society and hardly anybody even bothers to notice.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      People notice, but too many have the mindset that the people should pay for their own education.

      Not saying that viewpoint is wrong, but the mindset DOES prevent a system of free or cheap higher education

      • Beeker26 says:

        No one is denying that one should pay for their education. The problem is that with little to no job prospects it becomes impossible to do so. And while there is never any “guarantee” of a job upon graduation, it’s kinda the whole point, isn’t it?

        The other problem that we’re seeing the past decade is that the cost of paying for that education is many times greater than one’s earning potential. Toss in the mindset of “you must go to college or your life is ruined” and it’s a recipe for disaster with absolutely no way out short of death or permanent disability.

        • rmorin says:

          “And while there is never any “guarantee” of a job upon graduation, it’s kinda the whole point, isn’t it?”

          No. Unless they specifically guarantee a job (which they wouldn’t unless they are scammy to begin with) you can not expect one. You are paying for a service, what you do afterwards is up to you.

          “The other problem that we’re seeing the past decade is that the cost of paying for that education is many times greater than one’s earning potential.”

          Unless the University is scammy and telling people otherwise it is up to individuals to decide what education you want to pay for, regardless of whether you can make a lot of money afterwards or not.

          “Toss in the mindset of “you must go to college or your life is ruined””

          I understand what you are saying about the sentiment behind why some kids go to college, but again these are 18+ year old adult individuals making a financial decision. If it ends up being a poor one it is still on the individual, no one else.

    • peebozi says:

      What’s your problem? he isn’t demanding anything! He’s simply offering a proposal for their consideration. they have the right to decline his offer, he is not attempting to force this upon them.

      you just ate the $100,000 that you paid for a private education and went on with your life only bringing it up once every 5 minutes (probably, I’m guessing by the way you pat yourself on the back for being taken like a first-time visitor to a carnival).

      • Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

        Nice copy and paste. You are obviously a troll.

      • jmhart says:

        My problem is I’ve seen too many of these “proposals” recently where people think they shouldn’t have to pay for the degree since they can’t get a job with it. Most people sue. He’s doing the same thing, except suing the in the court of public opinion via his open letter.

        Wait, wait, it’s been 5 minutes, “I had $100,000 in student loan debt and paid it back quickly”

        I’ll see you in 5.

    • jesusofcool says:

      Seriously, if he had any job prospects, he may have lost them now. First of all, it’s not like he can give back the knowledge even if he gives back the piece of paper. I think personal responsibility is a good point to make here. In the end, he took a risk and it turned out his risk was a bad investment. Sucks for him.
      I don’t understand why so many people get a graduate degree right out of college. Unless it’s a career that’s in very high demand, it seems like many people would be better off getting settled on a career path and then getting targeted training.

      • jeepguy57 says:

        Completely agree. I went to grad school while I was working, so when I finally had my graduate degree, I had about 4 years of experience under my belt. The degree wouldn’t have made a difference (vs. a bachelors) without experience.

  7. ALP5050 says:

    Oh I am sure they will give him cash back too…

  8. craptastico says:

    so a kid halfway through law school is complaining that his law degree hasn’t gotten him a job? this guy’s an idiot. nobody forced him to go back to school.

    • Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

      So what you are saying is he’ll make a perfect PI lawyer?

    • c_c says:

      A lot of law students – at least at better programs – have their jobs lined up before starting their final year. So I can see how he’s nervous w/ no prospects going into his final semester. Still, it seems short sighted to want to abandon your degree for short term gain.

  9. MB17 says:

    Is it just me, or is there a growing number of people who forget that educational institutes are for just that: education. Universities are not job placement agencies. In exchange for tuition, universities guide you through a curriculum that help you gain knowledge about a chosen subject. They don’t owe you anything other than that education.

    • Downfall says:

      Law schools provide employment statistics that are basically fraudulent, including sometimes hiring their own grads on a temporary basis to boost the stats. Similarly, a barrista at Starbucks is counted as “employed in a corporate setting” for purposes of the rankings. There’s a lot of blame to go around.

    • Jevia says:

      Its also not unique to law schools, but even undergrads. True, the undergrad schools aren’t practically misrepresenting job prospects like some law schools do about career prospects, but they still ask for (and received) huge tuition money based on the general believe that everyone should have a college education and that a college education is a worthwhile investment no matter who you are or how much you have to borrow.

      This is not always the case and everyone, not just prospective law students, should perform due diligence to determine whether its realistic to spend $50,000 to $90,000 on an undergraduate degree in a program where there are few jobs available and those that exist pay less than $40,000 a year. Not everyone is suited to college, yet our society has practically made it a requirement. I know many people who didn’t go to or finish college, but are great in their fields, yet have had setbacks because they don’t have the paper degree.

      We deride people for the whole “borrow now/pay later” approach in using credit cards, well the same can be said for certain college degrees. Its also not just limited to the “for profit” degree programs that have been making the news lately, but even to other colleges and universities. Many colleges encourage kids to borrow whatever it takes to get a degree, telling them that “studies show a college graduate earns $1 million more over his/her lifetime.” Of course, what they don’t tell you is that paying back that college degree can cost you 1/3 of that claimed “million more” (or that one’s “lifetime” may mean working well into your elderly years) due to deferred payments, forebeared payments, compounding interest over 30 years.

      I’m not saying don’t get a college degree. I’m saying think about if that’s what you truly want (at least right out of high school) and if so, research what is the best degree for your interests/job prospects, what school can provide the best education at the most reasonable cost.

      There’s lots of ways to get a good general education or liberal arts type education without having to spend $30,000 a year in tuition.

  10. catskyfire says:

    I’d take him up on the offer, but only if I was able to remove the knowledge from his noggin.

    College does not guarantee anything, ever. It generally opens more doors, yes, but the true advantage of college is to help teach you more about the world, how to think, and more.

    In one of the Anne of Green Gables books, their housekeeper asks the college girls what the point of it all was. Anne replied, more or less, that it taught her to appreciate the world more, and what it offered. The housekeeper replied, “Well, if you can learn that in four years instead of twenty, I guess it was worth it.”

    • JollyJumjuck says:

      But during the time period of AoGG, wasn’t the main purpose of a woman going university was in order to find a husband? Not trying to be misogynistic, just commenting on the social mores of the times.

      • SunnyLea says:

        Eh, not really.

        In the time period of AoGG it was rare for women to go to college at all, so those who did had at least some intention of using it for a few years, at least.

        The idea of getting one’s “MRS” comes from a later time period.

    • Michaela says:

      Knowledge would not be the only thing the guy would have to return. Colleges just don’t pop knowledge into someone’s head. The university had to employ professors, maintenance staff, pay water/electric bills, and take on other expenses to educate this student. Also, as a student, the individual had the ability to attend many campus events and use additional campus facilities. The guy’s money can’t be returned because it has already been spent on him.

  11. peebozi says:

    one less liar, er lawyer, on earth…that’s gotta be a good thing!

  12. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I graduated with my law degree in May. I have two unpaid jobs and I’m lucky to have them.

    The way hiring used to work in the law is not how it works now. I am not sure even career services gets that yet. Mine kept advertising about on campus interviews and to get resumes ready for it. The day comes for the employer list to be posted and there were two employers on it. Two. Students were calling to find out if there was something wrong with career services’ website. Nope.

    Better do whatever legal work you can find, even unpaid, and network like crazy.

    • lettucefactory says:

      While it’s not the same exactly, a friend of mine who got her MBA a couple of years ago had a similarly disillusioning experience with “Career Services.” She and her classmates were getting their degrees at a time of great economy uncertainty in their concentration (Finance) and they kept getting nagging emails from Career Services asking why they hadn’t updated the database with their internship information yet.

      Um, BECAUSE NOBODY WAS HIRING. But the fools were so used to these MBA grads being able to pick and choose their employers that they just didn’t get that things had changed.

      While I don’t exactly feel bad for my friend (she has a job now and is making more than I ever will) it was a rough couple of years there. And a “Career Services” department that does not understand the realities of the job market it is supposed to help you navigate isn’t doing anyone any favors.

      • SolidSquid says:

        Friend of mine had a similar problem, except that the internship was a requirement for graduation. They change that eventually, but only after they realised that only about 10% of the year would be able to graduate if they didn’t

  13. Torchwood says:

    I would like a refund of the semester where the school ****-ed up the schedule and did not tell the students that the class was “cancelled” until two weeks before the semester. Did we get a “priority add” for the mess-up? Nope, you are treated just like any other student trying to add the class. Instead, I had to take a Wednesday night class from 6-9 PM…. and my shift was at 5 AM so that I could leave at 2 PM to take the database class.

    Yes, that very same semester, the database instructor was gone for the first third of the semester due to a “family emergency”. Worst instructor ever. To rub salt on the wounds, it was one of those proverbial “only offered once per semester”, and since she was a senior tenured instructor (with a doctorate!), she had first pick of classes to teach. Only instructor where I gave 3 2’s and a single 3 (everything else was 1s) on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being bad and 5 being excellent.

    Did I mention that my day job is making the data dance inside my departments MySQL databases? Love my job.

    • MMD says:

      You do realize that even faculty have lives and, yes, emergencies from time to time, don’t you?
      And you got your class, didn’t you?
      Did you mark the evaluation form based on the actual effectiveness of the instruction or your annoyance at being inconvenienced?

      • Torchwood says:

        The actual effectiveness of the instructor. Believe it or not, the database class was the ONLY computer intensive class where we actually only used the computer for one project. Everything else was “database theory”. The instructor spoke with an accent, and could not be heard beyond the first two rows. Part of my feedback was, “As part of a corrective action, the instructor should join a good Toastmasters group to improve her presentation skills.”

        To add insult to injury, she already had a reputation for being a bad instructor. Of course, as stated previously, this class was critical to my degree, was only offered once per semester, and she was the only person teaching the class.

        Oh, did I mention that the university has the policy of “Final exams, including major section exams offered in lieu of a final exam, may not be scheduled during the last week of classes”? Guess when she scheduled her final exam? On the final week of classes, with the project due the following week. AND SHE GOT AWAY WITH IT.

  14. chefboyardee says:

    will = would like to, apparently.

    i will have sex with angelina jolie.

  15. HippieLawChick says:

    This is someone who didn’t do his research before law school. With such poor research skills, it is no wonder he can’t find a job!

  16. Mecharine says:

    The real problem is that people are falsely led to believe that a degree in law will provide any kind of meaningful work. A lot of graduates end up in 20-30 thousand a year jobs and can barely pay the interest on their loans. What the law schools need to do is severely tamp down on admissions and reduce their class sizes so enough people can get jobs that actually pay bills.

    • Arcaeris says:

      Exactly. I was thinking of going to law school, but then I found out the facts. The average salary of a lawyer is $56k. There are 35,000+ new law school grad every year, but fewer than 25,000 new jobs every year.

      Everyone thinks being a lawyer is on par with being a doctor or pharmacist, and those days are way over. Even big law firms are cutting back on summer internships (worthless and cost them money) and hiring new grads to do the real training to practice law. God help the kids applying for law school this year for entry in 2011.

      • hansolo247 says:

        Well, the average is deceptive.

        Law is bimodal. One mode is like $160-180K, the other is $30-$40K. There are relatively few making $56K.

        It is a competitive field…either you are good or you’re not. The ones that do well do have one trait…they are aggressive.

        • JiminyChristmas says:

          I don’t think that’s an accurate representation of lawyers’ salaries. All of the lawyers I know who are earning in the $30k-$40k range are working for Legal Aid or some other sort of advocacy organization. They are all very sharp and could certainly have more lucrative careers if that was what was important to them.

          In the region where I live, $45k-$60k is a typical starting salary for the average law school grad at an average firm. The few who make into the top firms in town are starting around $120k. There are plenty of sole proprietors who prefer not to work insane hours and earn in the $50k-$80k range.

          Conversely, the upper end of the ‘bi-modal’ range is a hell of a lot higher than $180k, and I’m not talking about just celebrity trial attorneys. A mid-career partner at a national firm could easily be making $250,000 and up. There are more lawyers out there billing $400/hr or more than you would think.

          Lastly, being aggressive has little to do with be a successful or well-paid lawyer. More lawyers make it by being intellectual heavyweights than by being flamboyant courtroom operators. Think technically complex lines of work like mergers & acquisitions, intellectual property, or securities.

  17. Gulliver says:

    It is obvious why he has no job prospects. The guy failed in what he actually contracted with the school to do. The school agreed to allow him to attend classes and gain knowledge in exchange for money. Nobody forced him to take out loans, get his degree in law, or anything else. They also never promised him a job, or a salary upon graduation.
    Grow a set and be a man. This is just an idiot looking to garner attention and probably some money along the way., If I were BC, I would have said, we do not agree to the terms of your offer. Good bye.

    • peebozi says:

      What’s your problem? he isn’t demanding anything! He’s simply offering a proposal for their consideration. they have the right to decline his offer, he is not attempting to force this upon them.

      • Liam Kinkaid says:

        What’s your problem? Gulliver isn’t demanding anything! He’s simply offering a proposal for our consideration. We have the right to decline his offer, he is not attempting to force this upon us.

        BTW, if you’re the person in the article, you really should give full disclosure and admit it. And the fourth sentence should have a semicolon, not a comma. And I fixed your capitalization errors. No wonder you couldn’t find a job.

      • Michaela says:

        I have seen you use this exact line at least three times in this article. Stop being a broken record, please (try to mix it up a bit!).

      • harrier666 says:

        My biggest issue with the idea is that it clearly shows the student is not a good law student. We could start by looking at his grasp of contract law. Then move on to his inability to do proper research, as has been pointed out by several others on this thread. He is unable to grasp the current market and where the blame falls for not getting a job, which indicates his reasoning skills are poor. He admits some of his classmates got work, so clearly there ARE jobs out there, he just didn’t qualify. He chose to get married and chose to have a child before he had a job and while in law school. These things were not forced upon him. The “I’m a parent and therefore a victim” attitude does not look good on someone who should be well educated and intelligent. He chose to live outside his means.

        So our problem with it is that we all live with the consequences of decisions we make. He had constructive knowledge (some law lingo for you, pal) of the situation he was entering. The law school owes him nothing and by asking for something he is giving strong indications as to why he can’t find work.

  18. Thyme for an edit button says:

    There is also a bigger problem with law school employment stats. They are all self reported and vague. They don’t indicate if graduates have legal jobs, just that they have jobs. So get a job as a cashier and the schools include that in their stats, which they do use for deceptive marketing.

    Everyone knows it (except applicants). The American Bar Association has the power to hold schools accountable, but they don’t. Whenever stories about it come up, the ABA makes a committee to look into it. They take no other action though.

  19. DJSeanMac says:

    I look at this more as a referendum on the downsizing/minimalization of the career services programs at schools. My alma mater seemingly links directly to Monster.com, which makes it rather pointless. If this were the 1980s, that would be like handing a phone book to each graduate and saying “good luck!”.

  20. WeirdJedi says:

    Many companies require you have a degree of some sort before joining their ranks. Even recruited, you usually have to climb the ladder for different positions. Even if he knew everything, sometimes companies would prefer seeing you enter and exit college with a degree.

    The problem rises when everyone – parents, teachers, friends, co-workers, instructors, advisors – tells you that you can obtain a better job (and life) as soon as you get that degree. It is to say as if you do not get the degree, you will never achieve anything. With the economy as it has been for the past ten years, that no longer seems the case.

    The system is messed up. It doesn’t seem like there is any work around. This person is just looking for an alternative way out.

  21. Torchwood says:

    What also sucks…. we start taking the necessary courses and such 4-5 years ago. Both the job and economic outlook was much better in 2005-2006 than it was now, and nobody expected a meltdown to this degree and for this length of time.

    I was supposed to graduate last December. However, things went haywire at work starting Fall 2008, and I had to take two semesters off work. (How haywire? Our call volume went UP, and, for me, going home at my scheduled end time was a “good idea”).

  22. Floppywesl says:

    Should have become a male gigolo like i did , not only did i pay off my law degree but i “gigilo’d ” my way through med school.Unfortuneately a decade of gigolo-ness has left me somewhat in trouble – I used ot be called Stiffywesl.

  23. chaesar says:

    Welcome to life – http://www.viruscomix.com/page392.html

    Is the college also responsible for him impregnating a woman?

    • JollyJumjuck says:

      By that logic, Perspective Man ought to be upper-cutting *everyone* who complains about *anything* because *someone* always has it worse.

    • billin says:

      Yes, it is, as evidenced by his course transcript of Getting Some 101: “Hey Baby, I’m a *Lawyer*” and the follow-up elective, Getting Some 201: “Did I Mention I’m a *Lawyer*?”.

      That for posting that awesome comic – It’s a little alarming how often it (and the described sentiment) applies!

  24. Tim says:

    Does any school actually guarantee you a job after graduation? Thought so.

    • RandomHookup says:

      West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy

      • tbax929 says:


        Excellent point.

      • minjche says:

        An alternative perspective is that you are not guaranteed a job, but rather that they are guaranteed an employee.

        Granted if you’re attending those schools, I’d guess it’s actually what you want to do, so it’s a non-issue.

        +1 anyways.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      They don’t guarantee, but they definitely mislead. This is a systemic problem that is not unique to this law school. Tha American Bar Association is well aware of the problem, but does not hold schools accountable for it.

  25. sirwired says:

    Yeah, what a real tempting offer… skip out on paying for 2 1/2 years of education in return for not using the last half-year. *sarcasm*

    Boo freaking hoo. No college guarantees you a good job upon graduation, no matter your degree. And they CERTAINLY don’t promise your career will be fulfilling.

    Here’s some free career advice from me to college students everywhere: Your career is YOUR responsibility. It’s not your college’s, it’s not your boss’s or employer’s (once you have a job), it’s not the career center’s, it’s not the government’s.

    Yes, you can get help from all of those sources, but in the end it’s YOUR responsibility to find a job you want.

  26. Blueskylaw says:

    It seems like he already read the chapter on offer and acceptance.

  27. captadam says:

    A school does not take money in exchange for a future career, since a school cannot sell a future career. The school can, however, sell you services which build knowledge, understanding, and ability. It’s the job of a student to turn those attributes into career success.

    If this guy doesn’t understand that, he would probably make a poor lawyer.

  28. Jim Fletcher says:

    Dear Institute of Higher Learning:

    I’m pursuing a degree in a market that is apparently glutted. I’m willing to drop out today and give you no further monies as long as you give me a refund for all of the education that I have thus far consumed.

    Thank you,


    • Jim Fletcher says:


      I’m not the OP. I’m just translating his intentions into plain English.

    • Michaela says:

      I am glad you used the term “drop out.” That is what this person wants to do. The student wants to be considered more worthy than any other drop out and be refunded for their time.

      I must admit that the whole paper looks to be sarcasm though. It is very “A Modest Proposal” to me.

  29. Mom says:

    For many years, even before the current economic troubles, law schools in the US have been graduating twice as many new lawyers as there are jobs available. If his only motivation in going to law school was to have a good paying job when he got out, then he should have done more research, and maybe picked a different field to go into. If he really, truly wants to be a lawyer, then he needs to buckle down and start building his career, and assume that the money will come eventually. People who are doing the hiring (in any field, not just law) can see right through someone who just wants a job for the money. They’ll hire the person who’s motivated by the love of what they do every time.

  30. RedOryx says:

    Can’t hand back a degree he hasn’t earned yet. Misleading title is misleading.

    No university that I am aware of guarantees a job after graduation. That’s not part of the deal. He paid his tuition for an education, not a job.

  31. stevenpdx says:

    He needs to contact Bob Loblaw.

  32. haggis for the soul says:

    Who forced him to go to law school? Thought so.

  33. rewind says:

    If I remember correctly, BC actually costs more to attend than Harvard. He probably will have one of the most expensive law degrees in the US. He could have considered a cheaper school if cost might have been an issue.

  34. mister_roboto says:

    I can tell you one way to stimulate the economy: forgive student loan debt.

  35. The cake is a lie! says:

    I’d love to be able to use his reasoning every time a product or service didn’t fulfill my expectations. What did he think was going to happen? That he would just be able to rack up a couple hundred grand in student loans and then magically there would be a job paying seven figures waiting for him when he got out and he would be able to pay it all back? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!! yeah, not likely. I know more starving lawyers than starving artists. People seem to forget that the reason doctors and lawyers charge so much is because they have MASSIVE amounts of debt and insurance to pay for. They typically don’t make that much money. Sure there are a few who finally make it, but I’d love to see the statistics for the lawyers who wind up getting $40K jobs as paralegals because they can’t afford to be a lawyer and they are being crushed by student loan debt.

  36. maztec says:

    More desperate place than most? A third of my class was having kids during their last year. Some during their first and second year! This kid has no clue, just like most of the other law school children. I’m sorry, but he made a grown-up decision to go to law school, before he knew anything about the real world. Law schools simply should not allow people in who have not had at least five years other experience – post-undergraduate. People who go straight through invariably end up regretting their decision.

    Want an awesome stat? 80% of new lawyers quit their job and go into a new career within 2 years of graduation.

    The only problem here is that the cost of law school has gone up dramatically as well as the number of students graduating each year. Every time that happens the market gets flooded. Things went from bad to worse this time though, with the economy tanking. You want unemployment statistics? Last time I checked over 30% of lawyers are unemployed at the moment.

    Hang out your own shingle and find a niche kid. That’s the only way to get by in this world.

    • erratapage says:

      Where’d you hear that stat? I’m pretty sure I could find at least 50% of my classmates working as lawyers, and I graduated nearly 20 years ago.

  37. anime_runs_my_life says:

    Sorry, doesn’t work like that. If everyone got a refund for their tution in exchange for leaving the school, do you realize how many schools would have to file for bankruptcy and close? I’m just wondering how brassy his balls are to even think about asking this.

  38. dolemite says:

    I’m reminded of the Spongebob episode where Mr. Krabs offers free items such as tv in the restaurant. At the end, he takes all of the free stuff back, and a customer’s thoughts/images of everything he watched was sucked out of his head and back into the tv.

    Although you can give back the degree, you can’t give back what you’ve learned.

  39. Unclaoshi says:

    My proposal to him, if I was the school would be a gift card or store credit for the bookstore :P

  40. majortom1981 says:

    Doing this is not a good idea. A lot of places just ask for a certain degree like a masters degree or bachelors degree but do not care what the actual degree is in.

  41. chaelyc says:

    I’m 2+ years out of college & I’d gladly give my degree back if only I could recuperate all of the time I spent there, too. So far it’s only helped me earn a living wage that’s just above the poverty line & the only thing that has done is that it made me ineligible for being on Medicaid. Basically now I spend the entire difference of my increased salary to buy my own shitty health insurance. Thanks, college!

  42. mebaman says:

    Due diligence. It’s one of the first things they try to teach you in law school. If this student had done his due diligence, he would have learned that the legal field was oversaturated ten years ago, and the recent economic downturn has further exacerbated that problem.

    The problem is that a substantial portion of the population still thinks that a career as a lawyer is the golden ticket to six figure salaries and German cars. With the market oversaturated with not only lawyers but law schools as well, this popular image of the monied lawyer is far less the norm than it was twenty years ago. Many of the things lawyers were needed for twenty years ago can now be accomplished with a few mouse clicks. Legal research that used to take three or four days of man hours can now be conducted in a single afternoon online. Clients who once thought nothing of shelling out for expert legal advice are now shopping for better hourly rates and flat fees. All of this has contributed to less demand for legal services.

    Still, the law schools want to fill seats and have not been forthright with their students about their future employment prospects, especially schools in the third and fourth tiers of the U.S. News & World Report Rankings. Employers generally don’t have much respect for students graduating from such schools and will often bypass resumes featuring their names, even when a student has performed at the top of his/her class. ABA accreditation these days means about as much as the old “Nintendo Seal of Quality.”

    The truth is that the decision to spend $100k or more on a J.D. is a business decision and should not be viewed as anything but. The worst cases I’ve seen are those poor students who “follow their dreams” into soul crushing non-dischargeable debt and a useless piece of paper that leaves them qualified for nothing and overqualified for everything else. Research before you leap and don’t take the law school’s word at face value.

  43. Mclick says:

    I obtained a technical diploma 10 years ago. I worked in similar fields to my technical degree in order to provide for my family and build some work ethic and gain some life experience. The hard work paid off and have recently come into a great opportunity totally related to my field of study. Worry about finishing school first.

  44. erratapage says:

    I’m sympathetic, but upon graduation and entrance to the bar, the OP will have the right and ability to hang his shingle and practice for a living.

    Not all of us get jobs. Many of us make a job.

    Bone up on your business savvy and hire a good legal assistant. And remember that the first rule of the legal profession is do your due diligence, because you shouldn’t believe everything you’re told.

  45. johnny_ryall says:

    because no one should have to pay for their own mistakes!

  46. ITDEFX says:

    This is another reason why I haven’t gone back to school for another degree…. 10 years after I graduated, I still haven’t been able to find work in my field of study.

  47. Verdant Pine Trees says:
  48. common_sense84 says:

    Seriously, fix the title. He is 2 years into the law degree. And he wants to hand it back for a refund. He will not be handing it back. The title makes it sound like the school is allowing him to get a refund. Especially when this story is weeks old already. So people are going to see this and expect it to be a follow up. When it is not.

  49. jpdanzig says:

    Things must be bad in our litigious society when not even a young lawyer can find a job!

  50. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    There is a perception problem here…

    When you pay tuition to go to University or College you are not buying a degree, you are not buying a professional designation (like engineer). (Sadly some schools are perceived to be an exception to this.)

    What you are buying is access to the learning community with the opportunity for you to work toward achieving the knowledge and skills to enable the school to grant you the degree or professional designation. You are buying access and it is your job to exploit that access and get as much knowledge and training as you possibly can in the time you are there.

    Although I feel for this student’s plight, especially knowing that the world likely needs fewer lawyers chasing ambulances and political office. What he has received is over two years access to the learning community. If he can figure a way to give that back or transfer the opportunity to a student who could benefit, then maybe the school can figure a way to refund him.

    (OK Lawyers have at me! WooHoo lets go for a ride!)

  51. daemonaquila says:

    To the law student:

    Dear Dumbass,
    As an attorney who has gone through exactly the problems you have (as have ALL your classmates save, perhaps, a fortunate few who have gone to Yale and the few other schools of that rarified breed), I mock your stupidity and poor judgment. By your comments, you appear to have gone into the field for money, not a calling. Guess what? Nobody is guaranteed a job, much less a good job, in any field. If you went to law school because of a passion, you would find a way to do something cool, even if the money was poor for a while. By the way, if you had done your homework you would’ve realized what a horrible job market there is for new attorneys right now. In some law schools upwards of 70% graduate without having a job for at least a year. If you are now having regrets, tough luck. You are clearly too dumb and lacking in initiative for this profession, but thanks anyway for subsidizing the education of other students who do belong in the profession.

  52. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    This situation will only get worse as more legal firms outsource their back office and research jobs to India.

    plus… It wasn’t too swift to father a child while still in college. I hope it works out for him.

  53. sopmodm14 says:

    of course he can’t get a job, he doesn’t have a degree yet

    even with a JD, i don’t think he can get work….i think you need common sense to be an attorney (a soul is optional however)

  54. sopmodm14 says:

    students should get refunds off of fee(s) that aren’t useful

    at my SUNY school, we pay a technology fee increase annually, yet there are never any new computers, and 1/4 are “down for maintenance”

  55. caj111 says:

    Advice to others thinking about law school:

    1. Only go if you can get into a Top 5 school (and I don’t think BC is top 5).

    2. If you still think you can beat the odds and get the job you want despite the school you went to, go to a cheap law school, i.e., a state school in the state you live, so you don’t spend $150,000+ making the same mistake so many others have.

    • Powerlurker says:

      A friend of mine from college found out that after financial aid was taken it to account, it was cheaper to attend the University of Chicago for law school instead of going to UT Law as an in-state applicant.

  56. Thebestdudeeverr says:

    He played baseball in a league that gave out trophies to everyone.

  57. JiminyChristmas says:

    I sympathize with the guy, a little. A J.D. is not the employment and wealth guarantee your guidance counselor, or law school admissions officer, might lead you to believe. Likewise, it is a huge financial risk. The tuition bills themselves are huge, and there’s also the opportunity cost of spending another three years in school. That’s three years you could have been out using your college degree and earning a salary. Especially for people who headed into law school right after college, with no intervening work experience, I can see why they feel they have been sold a bill of goods.

    Oh, and the other thing no one ever tells you about law school? There are too many lawyers. Law schools are producing more graduates than there are law jobs for. When my S.O. sat for the Bar exam it was with 800 other recent grads. By comparison, the local professional programs produced about 150 M.D.’s from medical school and maybe 35 architects.

    Law schools will never shrink though. The reason being: law programs are huge cash cows for the universities that have them.

  58. vizsladog says:

    Dear [Redacted],

    Thank you for your open letter to me. Your personal regard for me and the job I have to do is touching and much appreciated. I thought I would take this opportunity to respond to your concerns, also in an open letter.

    First let me say I think you are indeed a lucky fellow. Given the weak reasoning you set forth in your letter, and the poor grammar that you used to deliver it, one has to wonder how it is that you successfully negotiated the admissions process at Boston College School of Law in the first place. I have had a long, direct chat with Assistant Dean Jones regarding your acceptance, and I have been assured by her that a repeat of the mistake is unlikely. You are also fortunate that I have not allowed your name to be widely publicized, because if it had been, your chances of getting a responsible job anywhere doing anything would be nil.

    I am curious about your letter and the thought processes behind it. Why was it an open letter? Did you really think that the Dean of a Law School would be incented to help you after you backed him into a corner publically? What about the timing of your request? Why wait until you are a 3L to react to a bad job market? Did you miss all of the news articles in 2008 detailing massive layoffs at law firms around the country? How did your search for an internship after your 1L year go; how about 2L? What was your backup plan? There is an old expression that goes like this: “When you’re in a hole, the first consideration should be to stop digging”. It is understandable (but not excusable) that you overlooked the risk of attending law school as you were admitted, but you were downright negligent in not recognizing the risks after your first term. By the way, you didn’t mention your class ranking or your GPA; how have performed thus far? I’ll have to take a look……………..

    It is interesting that you say: “I was convinced to go to law school by empty promises of a fulfilling and remunerative career”. Convinced? By whom? Was your attendance at Boston College School of Law the result of an unsolicited offer; or did you apply for admission to (presumably) several law schools? I have done a thorough investigation into who might have made those empty promises to you and I have found the culprit. If you want to look straight into the eye of the person who made those empty promises to you, look in the mirror.

    I checked, and it is true that most of the people in the career office ignore you. It was explained to me that it because of the way you interact with them; apparently you are whiney, demanding, and unwilling to take any responsibility yourself. (Which is consistent with the immature stunt that you pulled by writing your letter). A law degree is one giant step in finding a fulfilling career, but it is far from a guarantee that you will get a position. How are your interpersonal skills? Do you have good emotional intelligence? (Evidence suggests that you don’t).

    I am truly sorry about your personal circumstance. Some might question the advisability of choosing midway through law school in a doubtful economy as the best time to start a family, but given the quality of your thought processes, I am not surprised that you have made yet another un-vetted decision.

    In a spirit of fairness, I propose a solution for you. Cut your losses and withdraw from Boston College School of Law immediately. We will promise never to use your name publically in connection with your letter, and you will promise never to tell anyone that you attended Boston College School of Law.

    What do you think?

    S/George Brown
    George D. Brown
    Interim Dean
    Boston College Law School
    885 Centre Street
    Newton Centre, MA 02459

  59. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    So much for law schools attracting the smartest and brightest.

    He shouldn’t have dropped his big boy pants nine months ago.

  60. Clyde Barrow says:

    There are plenty of great paying careers by firms who wish to have someone on their staff with a J.D. but not be employed to practice law because having a knowledge of law is a great asset for many companies. This guy also needs to think outside the box. Having this kind of knowledge can open up a lot of opportunities besides practicing and I wonder if he has considered the fed gov’t? I know that the agency FDIC has intern openings for those that qualify and their positions begin at well over $75k a year. One attorney internship that I researched back in ’06 had a two-year intern at $89k. The only problem was the internship was not permanent so if you wanted the job, you have to apply but hey, it’s a great career step even if he didn’t get the job. If he researches the fed websites, there are a boatload of positions out there because the old hippies are retiring in droves. I just googled “federal attorney jobs” and you should see all the links.

    I got a job with the fed’s in ’03 after many years of grueling work in the auto field. Most of my new co-workers are in the mid / late 20s so the educational maturity is the highest that I have ever experienced in my life which is great.

    If this guy was serious about raising a family, he’d put his family first by busting his rear and getting the career that he went to school for instead of making excuses. I mean if he’s copping out this soon, I can’t imagine what will happen when he practices being an attorney with staff having 30 years + experience.

  61. backinpgh says:

    Sadly i was in a similar situation when I graduated from design school. The worst part is that if/when the economy rebounds nearly all the skills I paid $100k to learn will be outdated and useless, meaning I’ll have to go back to school just to get an entry-level job.

  62. Peacock (Now In Extra Crispy) says:

    Gah. Another entitled brat. Isn’t anyone responsible for the choices they make? Wah, wah, they made me choose to go to law school. Wah, wah, they made me accumulate a mountain of debt.

    Oh, cry me a river.

  63. Jane_Gage says:

    It’s not legal to sell alcohol to someone under the age of 21, but they can borrow 60K+ in debt. Open enrollment policies at private colleges and universities ensures that many can’t even calculate the interest. A college education is one of the worst consumer goods out there. Sub prime education crisis in 3 2 1…

  64. ShariC says:

    Colleges offer educations, not vocations. If he wanted to get an education with a better guarantee of a job at the end of the process, he should have chosen a technical school (plumbing, electrician, etc.). Going to college isn’t about getting a job, but becoming an educated person in one particular area as well as undergoing a process which will turn out a more disciplined and intellectually sophisticated person at the end. If you don’t value being educated for its own sake, don’t go to college. Go to a vocational school which will help you work in an area with high hourly wages and for which there is always decent demand.

  65. openbox says:

    Sounds like a few things going on:

    1. Buyer’s Remorse – Realizing that there may not be a giant pot of money waiting when he graduates.

    2. Child Shock – Realizing that he will now have someone depending on him to eat. This is just silliness because babies don’t need anything except a little food, and diapers. They can sleep in a box and don’t care if they wear the same thing every day for about the first 5 years. Babies are as expensive as you want them to be.

    3. Student Loan Paralysis – Realizing the real dollar amount that he borrowed for this education that he no longer wants. And it is festered by the onslaught of people vocalizing how screwed they feel by the student loan debt they incurred. The sums borrowed for a JD education at BC may be staggering and seem unmanageable. No solution there. Pay the loan payments, or they will take it from you. So your best option is to use this energy spent lamenting about this education instead to lobby for work opportunities. Teach law. There… you’re a teacher again. Enjoy.

    4. Name Redacted – I hope so. Or he already committed career suicide and will forever be Googled by future employers and labeled a whiner and a potentially high maintenance employee.

  66. djc_819 says:

    Does he also want cheese with that wine? Not even yet graduated, only 2 and a half years into Law School, probably hasn’t even tried yet or maybe, he’s at the bottom of his class and figures no law firm will take him? A little premature if you ask me. I think he lacks confidence, big time. I would understand if he was 2 years out of school, still unemployed or working a terrible minimum wage job with zero prospects of getting a job within a law firm, THEN I would understand his plea. Until then, I agree with what his school said.

  67. chargernj says:

    Used to be that once you graduated college you went and got a job. You would generally expect to get an entry level position at entry level pay. During the 90’s though it became normal for newly minted college grads to make executive level salaries. Someone needs to tell this guy that those days are over.

  68. chocula78 says:

    News flash: We have too many god damn lawyers in this country. Having a law degree is like owning an ipod now a days. Want a useful degree? Study mechanical, electrical or chemical engineering. These trades are in dire need of intelligent individuals.

    Sorry, you will never make $300/hr as an engineer. But at least you will make a physical product that contributes to the economy instead of sitting on your ass moping about how you might sue your law school because you can’t get a job.

  69. asamtoy says:

    This is just a cry for attention. What sucks for him is that any prospective employer who knows about this is going to think he’s an idiot and not hire him.

    I’d be amused if, 2.5 years into a job, the employer offered to return all of the work he’d done in exchange for his salary.

  70. planet_clerodendrum says:

    I graduated from law school in May 2009 and the employment situation is indeed awful and discouraging for new grads. I am very lucky I have had my husband and parents to back me up and support me; trying to get by without extra help would be terrifying and impossible.

    Most newish law grads have at least been able to do something to keep one foot in the field, such as volunteer work, doing a few of their own cases through a more experienced attorney’s office, or even starting their own practice. Stepping out as a solo as a new grad is possible but very difficult; you don’t even know enough to know what you don’t know yet. You have to be your own accountant, secretary, law clerk and docket clerk because you can’t afford to take on any employees yet, which is time consuming and reduces the total number of cases you can take on. You probably can’t afford office space, which means working from home (which might well be your parents’ house) and paying another lawyer to use his conference room. Any income based on practicing law this way is not reliable or predictable, so its very hard to make a budget that lets you enter a loan repayment program, plan for your own expenses and save for the future. It is very all-consuming and exhausting, with little financial reward.

    I’ve been doing a combination of all of the above for a while now, plus working nights and weekends in retail to help make ends meet. It has very difficult and honestly it has made me realize I don’t love practicing law enough to go through this physical and emotional stress for such little reward. In fact, I have realized I don’t like practicing law much at all and I’m looking for non-traditional lawyer jobs and jobs in my old field. Luckily I have kept up with my contacts in the field.

    Like the OP, I also have major regrets about racking up the tuition and the lost wages I could have been earning had I stayed in my old field; I had no idea how lucky I was to be making $40,000 with my undergrad degree; I won’t make half that this year from my law work. I realize, and always realized, that no one had promised me any sort of job and career. However, I never thought I would end up worse off than if I had just stayed where I was. Of course, going to law school was something I wanted to do for a very long time, and had I not done and stayed in my old career til retirement, I would have likely been plagued by a lifetime of “what ifs”. I enjoyed law school a lot and I’m glad I learned so much about our society’s laws and legal system. However, in hindsight I would not have gone unless the price was a lot cheaper.

    One last thing – my recommendation to the OP and other new grads in looking for jobs is to focus on what you offer that is unique. The folks I know who have gotten full-time law or law-ish jobs all got them because of something unique in their background – speaking a second language, getting a health law policy job because of a past career in health care, getting hired by the same place they law clerked for four years, getting a job with the state board of education because they used to be a teacher, working at a domestic violence NFP because of all the volunteer work they did with DV victims, etc. If you don’t have something like that in your background, figure out what area of law you want to work in and start making contacts and getting some sort of experience in that area asap. Law schools always tell students not to specialize, but if I had to do it again I would have specialized like hell in something.

  71. Sparkstalker says:

    I think it’s a reasonable offer…but only if he agrees to let each of his professors whack him in the head with a shovel to remove anything he learned in their class…

  72. Nick says:

    To do:
    1. Degree
    2. Job
    3. Baby

  73. sweetgreenthing says:

    Wow, I would love to be his client. “Well, I didn’t win this case, and it must be your fault. I want every penny back, including court fees.”
    I wish I could transport the OP back to two years ago in my shoes as a 23 year old single mom working at Starbucks and in school full-time. I never got a penny of child support, and I was not a whining little brat. My daughter was well provided for, so I would think he could figure it out, too.

  74. MrHacks says:

    Meanwhile in America: 100,000 computer science majors are now writing to their dean for refunds, especially since their jobs have been outsourced to India, China, and Southeast Asia.

  75. 99 1/2 Days says:

    Maybe I missed hearing about the Great Lawyer Shortage of the past decade…

    Actually, I’ve been reading about a lawyer glut for the past three decades. I don’t care what BS “career services” comes up with. Does no one pay attention to what’s going on to the real world outside their campus? Even the fricken basket weaving department is going to claim a great career is ahead of you. Someone coming out of law school doesn’t deserve a job unless they understand what the term “interested party” means and how much to rely on information from such.

  76. holden190 says:

    So how come no one is publishing this loser’s name?

  77. Robofish says:

    Career center at UMBC was pretty worthless too.

  78. dilbert69 says:

    What possible incentive would the law school have to agree to this? They have his money whether he can get a job or not.

  79. brinks says:

    Times are tough and there are plenty of people that are bogged down by student loans and few job prospects. I’m one of them.

    Last year, I started taking classes for a second Bachelor’s degree (since my first one wasn’t doing anything for me). I had a good enough job (decent money, I just hated it) that also paid a small amount of tuition reimbursement, so I was set. Unfortunately, I lost that good enough job and it’s accompanying tuition reimbursement. In the classic recession tale, I found a new job that pays significantly less and yet makes me work waaaaaaay over 40 hours. I can’t afford to take classes anymore without new loans since I lost the reimbursement, and it’s not like I have any free time anyway, so I dropped out. Of course, my loan repayments start next month and I’m still struggling to adapt to the much lower paycheck. I’m extremely worried about this extra bill.

    My case isn’t unique, and neither is this guy’s. The only difference is the amount of self-entitlement. Dude, get over it. Lots of people are barely scraping by. You don’t deserve this any more than anyone else does, and you know not everyone is getting a refund.

  80. minjche says:

    Sounds like this guy has a future in chasing wah-mbulances.

    Seriously take responsibility for yourself. “Convinced” to go to law school? Career Services didn’t hand him a job on a silver platter? YOU decided to go to law school, and it’s YOUR job to get a job. Career Services is a great asset but it’s there to help, not to hand out.

    Judging by his assumption that this would work, I’d guess he’d have made a pretty bad lawyer anyway.

  81. Eyeheartpie says:

    Ah, life’s greatest gamble: choosing a major.

    Before I picked a major, I did research into current hiring trends, and total enrollment/graduation trends in my field. Hiring was way down, enrollment was on the downswing too. I figured by the time I graduated, there would be an upswing in hiring after 3-5 years of low enrollment/graduation rates.

    Goddamn if that didn’t pay off.

  82. pixiestix says:

    As a current BCLS law student I can tell you that it’s not a case of buyer’s remorse but a case of being sold goods that don’t match the sales pitch. During the recruitment phase, many of us in the class of 2011 were told how BC “owned the job market in Boston” and were told stories of alumni working in biglaw and enjoying their time at BCLS. In November of 2008, when the Career Center was actually allowed to talk to 1Ls, we were told to work our assess off to get a 3.5 to get that biglaw job (you were screwed if you wanted to go into anything else). For the class of 2012, the 1Ls were not given the same speech and were essentially told to fill out applications for Starbucks while they were job searching. The school is only able to help place students when the economy is good. They don’t know how to navigate this economy and many don’t try to help students. There is only one counselor in Career Services that I know of that will actually help you find a job outside law firms. There is really no point in spending my tuition money to bring in NEW counselors to Career Services when the ones we have need better training.

    The school wants to bury this. Not the interim Dean but the “higher powers” on main campus. I’d feel better if the school just admitted that former Dean Garvey drove the school into the ground and ruined the reputation the school ONCE had. I’ve even told administrators how much I disdain BCLS and regret making the choice to come here. They didn’t care. The harsh reality is many of they don’t care because they’re not the ones who have to navigate this job market or sit in classes with professors that should have been fired years ago.

    Why should we be forced to pay thousands for a diploma that’s only good enough to serve as toilet paper? I’m pretty sure the class of 2011 and beyond have been served up a heavy dose of fraud.

  83. pixiestix says:

    As a current BCLS law student I can tell you that it’s not a case of buyer’s remorse but a case of being sold goods that don’t match the sales pitch. During the recruitment phase, many of us in the class of 2011 were told how BC “owned the job market in Boston” and were told stories of alumni working in biglaw and enjoying their time at BCLS. In November of 2008, when the Career Center was actually allowed to talk to 1Ls, we were told to work our assess off to get a 3.5 to get that biglaw job (you were screwed if you wanted to go into anything else). For the class of 2012, the 1Ls were not given the same speech and were essentially told to fill out applications for Starbucks while they were job searching. The school is only able to help place students when the economy is good. They don’t know how to navigate this economy and many don’t try to help students. There is only one counselor in Career Services that I know of that will actually help you find a job outside law firms. There is really no point in spending my tuition money to bring in NEW counselors to Career Services when the ones we have need better training.

    The school wants to bury this. Not the interim Dean but the “higher powers” on main campus. I’d feel better if the school just admitted that former Dean Garvey drove the school into the ground and ruined the reputation the school ONCE had. I’ve even told administrators how much I disdain BCLS and regret making the choice to come here. They didn’t care. The harsh reality is many of they don’t care because they’re not the ones who have to navigate this job market or sit in classes with professors that should have been fired years ago.

    Why should we be forced to pay thousands for a diploma that’s only good enough to serve as toilet paper? I’m pretty sure the class of 2011 and beyond have been served up a heavy dose of fraud.

  84. StevePierce says:

    He should sue …