Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The farce that launched a thousand lemmings

If you're like me, your morning romp through internet front-pages is peppered with bullshit articles about "Ten Hot Jobs," or "Careers that make $50k with no college degree!" It's always a good idea to ignore these fluff pieces that are written by journalism majors who have no experience or firsthand knowledge of the "hot industries" they write about, but I couldn't help but notice this entry on a list of "10 Jobs that pay $50 per hour."

02. Attorney / Lawyer
Hourly pay: $51.33 - $102.00

Love 'em or hate 'em, they'll always have a job. From building a new office building to sorting out a will, lawyers are essential to all kinds of negotiations and business processes. As a lawyer, you can specialize in the area that most suits your strengths and interests, like justice for children or patent law for new technologies. To get working as a lawyer, you need to complete an undergraduate degree, three years of law school and pass a state bar exam.

It's grossly uninformed horseshit like this, spewed out constantly by "news" organizations, that contributes to the (painfully incorrect) public perception of lawyers. A lot of parents of directionless college seniors probably read this claptrap, because it's of that special variety of feelgood human-interest puff that so appeals to boomers. There are plenty of hopeless 20somethings out there with no skills and a history of average academic performance who will see a piece like this and decide that law school is their ticket out of the doldrums. Hey, there is a local TTT with a glossy brochure that might be right up their alley!

In a horrible economy, there is an ever-increasing number of desperate 20somethings grasping at straws. Coincidentally, there is an ever-increasing number of law school applicants, despite the declining number of job openings. I never get tired of mentioning that every single college-graduate friend or acquaintance I regularly keep in contact with is either in grad or law school, or in the process of applying. Having graduated college with an exciting array of lawn mowing and house painting opportunities awaiting them, I can't blame the Lost Generation for aspiring to something better (like gainful, full-time, professional employment) and going to law school. Unfortunately, this decision is so often colored by misinformation peddled by media blowhards, starry-eyed, stuck-in-the-80s parents, and (especially) the law school charlatans themselves.

So here's to all of the lies, nonsense, and hogwash that will delude and mislead the next crop of 45,000 law students who will be matriculating this fall. We can even make our own list of "10 Jobs that will cost you $50k a year."

02. Attorney / Lawyer
Yearly cost: $30,000 - 60,000 (include three years)
Hourly pay: $0.00 - $15.00 (no benefits)

Even though everyone hates them (and no one hates them more than they themselves), the vast majority of them will never have a job. From rummaging through dumpsters in a Walgreen's parking lot after dark, to filing frivolous family court motions in an attempt to get their non-paying client possession of a set of bunk beds, lawyers are essential to all kinds of subhuman subsistence-level tactics and low-paid, unskilled hourly labor. As a lawyer, you can see your dreams of specializing in the area that most suits your strengths and interests be crushed as you are relegated to standing in a breadline, or poring over documents for $15/hour with no benefits. Ideal practice areas like justice for children or patent law for new technologies are red herrings that will mislead tens of thousands of clueless, wayward young 0Ls like you every year. To even be considered to work as a lawyer, you need to complete and pay for an undergraduate degree, three years of overpriced law school during which you will learn no practical skill, and pay for and pass a state bar exam. Then, you will actually need to find one of the (nonexistent) jobs.


  1. Good description. These diploma mills are churning out WAY MORE graduates than the U.S. lawyer market can bear. And lemmings believe these info-tainment "news" articles? It should also be noted that if you pass the Kansas Bar Exam, you cannot start taking cases in Iowa or Missouri - unless you somehow are sponsored pro hoc vice by a licensed attorney in that state. That is quite a limitation.

  2. 02. Indian Attorney / Lawyer
    Hourly pay: 2-4 rupees (or less)

    Love 'em or hate 'em, they'll have a job until another country does it cheaper, and then they'll be quickly abandoned in favor of slave labor. From small document review to large document review, Indian lawyers are essential to American profit margins. As an Indian lawyer, you can choose to specialize in the areas of "not making an American's salary" and "being paid pennies per month".

  3. Wow, check out the comments on that AOL article. I hate to say it but a lot of people are too dumb to be employed by anything other than a fast food restaurant.

  4. That's true...people just don't GET the fact that most lawyers are not rich. They think getting a law degree is like a license to print money and it's very, very hard to overcome that assumption in people's minds. They think if you have a law degree and no job, you must be a big-time loser or there is something wrong with you because, hell, everyone knows that lawyers like Claire Huxtable and those guys on (insert name of glamorous lawyer show here) are making beaucop bucks! When will the public learn? When we help them wake up to the REAL reality.


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