Thursday, June 30, 2011

Would you go to law school to become a Paralegal?

It's about that time of year again...




FOR ....


Just when you thought the legal profession would not hit a new low, you are wrong:

The University of Texas at Austin has now launched a 5 month paralegal program and sent brochures to its law school alumni, telling them of this wonderful new program!

WOW! Imagine, spending 3 years of your life, tuition, room and board and lost wages only to get an invitation to a paralegal program after you graduate!

If you want to learn more about this debt for diploma program read about it here:

Go to Law School to Become a Paralegal!

I have a friend who is working in document review, graduated from UC Hastings school of law and we both were talking about this hilarious new article in Above the Law. UTA is a very well respected school, but if a top 15 law school is telling its graduates to become paralegals, what does that tell you about the legal profession? UNDERGRADUATES BEWARE!

My friend said "Lawyers working as paralegals, what’s next ..lawyers working as cops?" It reminded me of a funny video I once saw a while back. I uploaded the video below for your viewing pleasure. Usually the Bailiff/Sheriff keeps order in the court and protects civilians from violence, but in Pakistan a group of lawyers started to beat the police. The world is changing...

-The Poor Paralegal

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Middle Class Jobs are Vanishing

Most of America's middle class works making between $40,000-70,000 a year salaries as middle managers will see dramatic shifts in their future opportunities. Due to outsourcing, globalization, streamlining and changes in the US economy, there is no need for many of these jobs. India produces over 800,000 engineers a year, whereas the US only creates about 60,000 engineers. I am part south asian, and many students who grow up in India, Pakistan, etc. end up becoming very well educated. I had one friend from Arabic school who told me in India he grew up learning Hindi/Urdu, Panjabi, English, Arabic and one western language (French, Spanish, etc.)  Keep in mind, that this is in PUBLIC school, not some fancy private school.

Many of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are rapidly growing and outsourcing is taking those jobs away from the US and sending them to overseas. Globalization is  killing the legal profession, as many document review and legal research jobs are being sent abroad.  Read this article in the Wall Street Journal, to learn more about these changes,

Even many well paid workers are now seeing their jobs vanish, and the odds of getting very high paying jobs will be very difficult for years to come. Since I work in investment banking, and I met quite a few survivors from the  Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns collapse when the "Great Recession" started.

Just last week I met one guy who was at BS and worked as an Associates in the Fixed Income Group division of corporate banking. He was well educated, out of a top 20 MBA school for 3 years and was making around 250-300k a year. He was on his way to becoming a VP, but the mortgage meltdown and recession made him lose his job. He now works for my boutique company, and I know he makes like barely 100k a year. He even told me that the odds of getting one of those really high paying jobs on wall street will be rare for many years to come. He even thought about taking his CPA exam and doing accounting, since he has friends who are controllers, CFO's, and such who make more than him.

Even for someone who was making so much money on wall street, he gave me some great insight. You have to constantly adapt to the changing job market. You can't always just keep looking for a job in your industry. If you are in a profession where there are no jobs, then go out and figure out a way to find another job. Don't just sit around moping and being depressed. I couldn't find a legal job as a paralegal, so I went back to corporate America. I recently met one M&A attorney who needs a paralegal on contract basis, so I may work for him on the side while I work my full time job. I need to constantly figure out ways to make money, find part time work, learn new skills and figure out how to survive.

The point is that while a lot of these middle class jobs are vanishing, we all need to figure out how to survive. Yes, law school is a scam, there are no legal jobs and I can constantly bitch about it..or..

We can all go out, find out where the jobs are, learn new skills, figure out ways to make ends meet  and work hard at adapting to the changing job market.

To all you underemployed and unemployed lawyers and paralegals: be an active learner and try to make your own way, there is hope in this terrible economy!

- The Poor Paralegal

Sunday, June 5, 2011

5 step plan to fix the Legal Profession

I recently found out about the class action lawsuit filed against Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego by Anna Alaburda and recent graduates of TJLS. I think this is just the beginning, and eventually many more law schools will be sued by their graduates for fraudulent misrepresentation of material facts and NIED. These schools gave out false employment statistics and misled their graduates into thinking they would get jobs paying $70,000 + starting with a 80-90% placement rate.

Many of these graduates are now doing document review, part time jobs, or have no way to pay back their loans. Many prospective law students and graduates have e mailed me about the myths of the legal profession. They read the scam blogs, they read the New York Times article, but this should really open their eyes..Law school graduate can't find a job

Eventually many third and fourth tier law schools will likely face class action lawsuits by misleading their graduates with false promises of jobs, high starting salaries, and lucrative career opportunities.

A lot of changes will eventually impact the legal education industry.

I have come up with my own way of fixing the legal profession.



1.)   Every law school needs to lower enrollment by 1/3.

Every year we have 45,000 + law school graduates and only 30,000 jobs that require a JD. This will lead to law schools having fewer students and less funding, but they should just lay off greedy faculty members and hire more part time professors.

2.)   Require at least 2 years of full time work experience  as a prerequisite to attending law school. So many English, History and Political science majors go to law school by default. They have no idea of what to do after college. MBA programs require several years of experience for their applicants, and so should law schools! They should get more work experience and at least have some idea of the real world before they commit 3 years of their life to law school and the financial burden it requires.

3.)   Eliminate all NON ABA approved law schools and paralegal programs. All these CBA schools in California need to be shut down. These scam diploma mills aren't worth the paper they are printed on! All these online paralegal programs are full of shit. They need to have only ABA approved programs, and all legal employers should not hire anyone who doesn't graduate from an accredited program.

4.)  Make every law school student attend a seminar on financial counseling as a part of the application process to law school. This should be done BEFORE they even take the LSAT exam. This should be an intensive 1-2 day course  and it should give potential students the straight facts of the cost of a legal education, employment prospects and  give them a "reality check" on their ability to repay loans.

5.)  Enable a third party market research company that is NOT affiliated with law schools to provide accurate information in regards to employment statistics, salary information and such.

This is my 5 step plan to fix the legal education system. I think it would be a great idea of these steps were taken to fix the legal profession. I applaud Anna Alaburda for being such a brave and courageous woman to be the first law student to fight back against the law school scam.

To all you law school graduates who are struggling, hopefully things will get better in the near future!

-The Poor Paralegal