Remembering TCPaul, 2016-2019

Just discovered that a former friend from law school committed suicide.

He was the nicest guy. He turned down law review because he bcls02/24/19
Big law partner who committed suicide? Wonder what else was rubberduck02/24/19
He is not the only one from my school to commit suicide. Sev bcls02/25/19
It is interesting how you can find some at the top of the he bobm02/25/19
When your life is already in the toilet, there is no pedesta ugly02/25/19
I think you are right about not having a pedestal to fall fr bcls02/25/19
Pathological behavior. Feelings of inferiority are felt by jeffm02/25/19
Hyper-Liberal-Arts intelligence. If you make it to that lev wearyattorney02/25/19
"The South might be different because you can actually buy a mikeisright02/26/19
"I believe he died feeling overworked, inferior and underval catwoman33302/25/19
OMG mind BLOWN! What is your IQ? jddidtie02/26/19
I think the problem is that biglaw is basically a tightrope. onehell02/25/19
You make an excellent point. Becoming a lawyer if you aren wearyattorney02/25/19
I was shocked to read in my alumni magazine that a classmate 6figuremistake02/25/19
I'm not so hesitant to politicize it, because law always has onehell02/25/19
So true! The legal "profession" as a whole essentially Sxxx catwoman33302/25/19
Yeah. Actually my bar association has only been able to defe onehell02/25/19
Yeah, I don't really have any real experience with legal pra 6figuremistake02/25/19
The story told by OP is a cautionary tale. Do you have any l williamdrayton02/25/19
Might be this guy: https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/ 2018/0 junkwired02/26/19
Damn, that is so tragic. The law firm always claims to care somefed02/26/19
thanks for the American Lawyer link - makes sense since the williamdrayton02/26/19
"I wonder if that tightrope is even more narrow and slippery ejs201702/27/19
No, because these guys aren’t really making real money unl wearyattorney02/27/19
Right on. It is a con. It's an aspect of that mirage of ejs201702/28/19
Harrison Barnes has a good article on why law is a “middle wearyattorney02/28/19
Whether you want to talk about plumbers, janitors, accountan jeffm02/28/19
Yeah, there are broke ones and rich ones in every profession wearyattorney02/28/19
I don't disagree. My point is that if you think you'd have jeffm02/28/19
I think for some teacher would work. For others cop would wo wearyattorney03/01/19
In addition to jeffm's point, I'd also add that being a cop wshakes1902/28/19
I saw a garbage truck exploded on the road a while back. Th persius02/28/19
For the vast majority of attendees, law school is a terrible toooldtocare03/01/19
The idea that teachers have it made is ridiculous. They are pherc03/01/19
Used to be a teacher. Hated it. I much prefer the insurance junkwired03/01/19
You were a teacher in a red state or you were not tenure tra wearyattorney03/01/19
I taught English abroad in Korea for several years. Obviousl junkwired03/01/19
I’m not advocating teaching in Korea, I’m advocating hav wearyattorney03/01/19
The divide here I think is the general divide between coasta wearyattorney03/01/19
Even being a tenure-track teacher can be very difficult in a wshakes1903/01/19
Not as tough or hard as getting and maintaining private sect wearyattorney03/01/19
I’m only advocating essential services in big rich cities wearyattorney03/01/19
Cryptocurrency is a scam and I expect the people who investe wshakes1903/01/19
I respond in earnest only out of necessity for potential 0Ls wearyattorney03/01/19

bcls (Feb 24, 2019 - 11:39 am)

He was the nicest guy. He turned down law review because he wanted to write for the Environmental law Review. Straight A law student and was a big law partner. RIP Bruce.

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rubberduck (Feb 24, 2019 - 10:22 pm)

Big law partner who committed suicide? Wonder what else was going on there. Anyway, RIP.

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bcls (Feb 25, 2019 - 10:27 am)

He is not the only one from my school to commit suicide. Several years ago a member of the class ahead of me shot himself leaving behind a young family. While reading the In Memoriam section of my alumni magazine that listed Bruce's death I decided out of morbid curiosity to google the name of the previous deceased alumni and learned that he, like Bruce, had also taken his own life.

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bobm (Feb 25, 2019 - 10:28 am)

It is interesting how you can find some at the top of the heap who chose to end life and those struggling in debt and doc review who don't.

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ugly (Feb 25, 2019 - 10:50 am)

When your life is already in the toilet, there is no pedestal from which you can fall from.

It's mostly about perspective, and a sliver of lacking positivity.

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bcls (Feb 25, 2019 - 11:16 am)

I think you are right about not having a pedestal to fall from. I was reading an open letter from the wife of a young big law partner who committed suicide. Her husband confided in her that he felt like a phony who had everyone fooled about his abilities. This from a man who graduated 3rd in his class. She wrote: "I believe he died feeling overworked, inferior and undervalued. And I know he died with a lot of shame."

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jeffm (Feb 25, 2019 - 11:58 am)

Pathological behavior. Feelings of inferiority are felt by everyone sometimes, but they are in check for normal people. In some people, these insecurities are way out of control.

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wearyattorney (Feb 25, 2019 - 2:51 pm)

Hyper-Liberal-Arts intelligence. If you make it to that level in big law on the coasts from a prole background, you know you actually lost and the system conned you. You are working your ass off without any opportunity to be a real player, and the system uses you as the scapegoat of success, to conceal where the real rent draw is from.

The South might be different because you can actually buy a house, invest, and not get taxed to death because your salary is “high,” but I’m not completely sure that’s the case either.

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mikeisright (Feb 26, 2019 - 12:25 pm)

"The South might be different because you can actually buy a house, invest, and not get taxed to death because your salary is “high,” but I’m not completely sure that’s the case either."

I'm from the deep south and this is the case for biglaw pay. All of my friends from LS who went biglaw stayed a few years to pay off their student loans and then moved on to other opportunities. The rest seem to struggle proportionately to any other part of the country (low COL but correspondingly low pay).

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catwoman333 (Feb 25, 2019 - 3:01 pm)

"I believe he died feeling overworked, inferior and undervalued. And I know he died with a lot of shame."

+++++++++++++++++++

Sounds like ANY burned out employee in ANY line of work in 21st Century America.

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jddidtie (Feb 26, 2019 - 12:22 am)

OMG mind BLOWN! What is your IQ?

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onehell (Feb 25, 2019 - 11:59 am)

I think the problem is that biglaw is basically a tightrope. Everything had to go exactly right for you to get it in the first place, and everything must continue to go exactly right to keep it, because they hire exclusively from 2L OCI and laterals from other firms and it's impossible to be a "lateral" if you're not currently at another biglaw firm.

Some people call lawyers "sharks." The analogy is apt, but not for the reason people think. It's not because they're predatory, it's because many species of shark will die if they ever stop swimming. This article illustrates the attitude:

https://www.bcgsearch.com/article/900046628/Why-You-Can-Never-Stop-Practicing-Law-for-More-than-a-Few-Weeks-Once-You-Start/

A culture like the one described in the article above is positively toxic. For a biglaw associate, I imagine it often feels like you're always just one misstep or major life event away from the doc review dungeons. Your success has a certain fragility to it. And given how highly leveraged most lawyers are, this can lead to all manner of mental health challenges.

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wearyattorney (Feb 25, 2019 - 2:57 pm)

You make an excellent point. Becoming a lawyer if you aren’t monied to start with is a massive, utterly massive, risk, but the people who pursue a legal career, especially a big law career, are extremely risk averse. When it dawns on them that the money isn’t that much unless you become an equity partner (when you consider hours worked, COLA, etc), that the job is extremely unstable and that a bad situation becomes worse if they fall off the tight rope, and mental illness ensues.

The problem compounds when you introduce family life. American women aren’t built for sacrifice: you have to make money and you have to have time. So... it winds up being a super error...

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6figuremistake (Feb 25, 2019 - 12:41 pm)

I was shocked to read in my alumni magazine that a classmate with whom I was pretty close passed on - when I investigated, it appeared that is was by his own hand.

Unlike your former classmate, he definitely didn't graduate in the top part of the class and he didn't end up practicing law. I never became a lawyer either, but fortunately I was able to advance on a different career trajectory. I didn't keep in great touch with him, but he seemed to bounce around in a lot of different roles.

In LS, I got along really well with him, but he seemed to have a tendency towards anger/frustration.

Clearly, I'm very critical of law school, but I want to be careful about "politicizing" such a tragic event. After all, anyone who takes his own life probably has a lot personal struggles. Nonetheless, when you take someone like that and saddle him with six figures of debt and leave him with no chance of getting a decent job in the field he studied for three years, you're certainly not helping the situation.

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onehell (Feb 25, 2019 - 2:54 pm)

I'm not so hesitant to politicize it, because law always has something to do with it. Sure there are other issues, but underlying them all is usually the profession. Maybe you drank too much, but it was to self-medicate for the stress of having or not having a law job. Maybe your family left you, but there's a good chance it was because you were never home or were just a ball of distraction and anger on the rare occasion when you were home. Or you were home too much and miserable because you were unemployed due to a glut that law schools did everything they could to mask or conceal. Or maybe no one saw it coming and thought you seemed happy, but really it was because you put up the same façade of strength at home that you had to put on at the office.

I think that if we don't talk about the role the toxic culture of our profession may play in these things, then we allow law schools and bar associations and everyone else to continue paying lip service to caring about mental health without making any real changes.

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catwoman333 (Feb 25, 2019 - 3:06 pm)

So true! The legal "profession" as a whole essentially SxxxS and it will only get worse as more and more lawyer tasks/jobs are outsourced to cheaper paralegals India/China/US. That doesn't even take into consideration the devastating effect of AI (automation) which will probably finish off what little is left of "traditional" law practice within a few decades.

Bar Assns. don't give a hang about MH or any other "services" to attorneys or job security (aside from their own). IMO, they exist solely to perpetuate their existence (conference travel junkets and jobs). All they care about is getting membership/CLE dues in return for.....ahem...?? I have yet to figure it out... I guess all that hard work perpetuating their pointless existence.

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onehell (Feb 25, 2019 - 3:37 pm)

Yeah. Actually my bar association has only been able to defend its existence by actively saying it DOESN'T care about lawyers. Rather, they've had to say that they exist solely to protect CLIENTS. They view themselves as a consumer protection agency, not a lawyer protection agency, and that's how they've withstood legislative attack on the idea of a "self regulating profession." It's also why they will claim discretion and basically never pursue a UPL case unless there was an actual "client" who was actually harmed as a direct result of some unlicensed person not knowing what they were doing.

I say that needs reform too. If the government is going to require a license for a certain profession, and require hugely expensive education to get that license, then government should aggressively enforce the monopoly it claimed to grant. For example, audit big companies' use of "compliance officers" and "contract specialists" to make sure these people aren't actually practicing law. A justification grounded in consumer protection should not be necessary.

Instead, they do exactly the opposite. State Supreme courts can claim separation of powers to defend their exclusive ability to decide who they will or won't allow to practice in the courts of the state. But outside of actually appearing on behalf of someone else in a court of general jurisdiction, or actively defrauding someone by falsely claiming to be a lawyer (which would be common law fraud anyway even in the absence of any special rules), no one comes after UPL in my neck of the woods in the absence of actual harm.

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6figuremistake (Feb 25, 2019 - 4:11 pm)

Yeah, I don't really have any real experience with legal practice and certainly not with big law, but I'm not letting the law school scammers off the hook. If its not the case with my friend, I'm sure they have blood on their hands somewhere.

When I was unemployed and watching the interest on my debt compound, everything seemed pretty hopeless. I'm fortunate that I'm a stable that I never seriously considered doing anything too radical, but it definitely took a toll on my mental health. I find it hard to believe that the post-law school trauma has never sent anyone already dealing with other issues over the edge.

What I meant by not "politicizing" the situation is that given my multiple objections to law school, I wouldn't want to lump this situation in as a "cheap shot". I fell out of contact with my friend, so for all I know, a rich uncle paid off his debt and he was happy with his job; maybe a fight with a girlfriend or something else set him off.

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williamdrayton (Feb 25, 2019 - 11:02 pm)

The story told by OP is a cautionary tale. Do you have any links? You don't have to identify yourself in order to share

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junkwired (Feb 26, 2019 - 3:56 pm)

Might be this guy: https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/2018/09/21/suicide-blamed-in-death-of-dla-piper-partner/

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somefed (Feb 26, 2019 - 4:46 pm)

Damn, that is so tragic. The law firm always claims to care after someone dies. In reality, they probably only cared about his billables. No job is worth your life.

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williamdrayton (Feb 26, 2019 - 5:20 pm)

thanks for the American Lawyer link - makes sense since the OP's screen name is "BCLS" (Boston College Law School) and he refers to his classmate as Bruce -

I think onehell's tightrope theory is spot on.

I wonder if that tightrope is even more narrow and slippery for the biglaw guy who "only" went to a Tier 2. is there extra pressure to keep up with the T14 Brahmins? (i.e. the HYS guy down the hall billed 70 hours, maybe I should overcompensate and do 75)

do I wonder that if the law firm economics start to go south, will I be the first to get the axe?

and if I do get the axe, are my exit options more limited?

I recall reading the open letter from the wife of the West Coast biglaw guy who committed suicide - like Bruce, he also had a supposedly lesser pedigree than his colleagues. edit: he "only" went to Dickinson Law. https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/2018/10/18/gunshot-killed-sidley-partner-la-medical-examiner-rules/

two anecdotes do not represent data, but you can't help but put together an equation here

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ejs2017 (Feb 27, 2019 - 6:53 pm)

"I wonder if that tightrope is even more narrow and slippery for the biglaw guy who "only" went to a Tier 2. is there extra pressure to keep up with the T14 Brahmins? (i.e. the HYS guy down the hall billed 70 hours, maybe I should overcompensate and do 75." Wasn't that the issue precisely in the case of the Reed Smith partner who committed suicide in 2010? http://www.lawjournalnewsletters.com/sites/lawjournalnewsletters/2017/05/01/ex-reed-smith-partners-suicide-trial-highlights-anxiety-in-big-law-mergers/?slreturn=20190127182524

Law firm culture is by and large toxic by its very nature, whether we're talking about 'BigLaw' or some insurance defense mill. At the end of the day, an attorney's value is measured by whether the attorney is profitable as measured by the billable hour yardstick and/or the number of clients the attorney brings to the firm. It's not enough to "meet" the expectation, you have to surpass it. By how much? As OneHell pointed out, if the T14 guy down the hall is billing 70, you have to bill 75 (or 80) to compensate for your perceived lack of pedigree.

I can only imagine that many attorneys who by outward appearance reach BigLaw's summit, like the partners discussed in this thread, suffer from some deep-seated 'Imposter Syndrome' for all of the reasons pointed out by OneHell at 11:59. They can't enjoy being at the proverbial 'top of the mountain' out of fear that they are one step removed from falling off.

Instead of just "walking away" as one partner's widow implored him to do, one partner chose to shoot himself in his firm's parking structure. https://www.law.com/americanlawyer/2018/11/12/big-law-killed-my-husband-an-open-letter-from-a-sidley-partners-widow/

Is the money/preftige worth it?

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wearyattorney (Feb 27, 2019 - 7:16 pm)

No, because these guys aren’t really making real money unless they are at the absolute summit of the biglaw pyramid.

These people aren’t rich. I know rich people and they don’t work hard, other people work hard for them. In fact, these people are far less rich than cops in the northeast and northwest.

That’s why law is such a con, there are no winners. Even the biglaw full equity partners lost because if you have the ability to do that, then you can become an equity vested interest in ibanking for 10 times the money.

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ejs2017 (Feb 28, 2019 - 11:43 am)

Right on. It is a con.

It's an aspect of that mirage of the 'American Dream' that amazingly persists and that people still buy into. It's like grad school, MBAs and, more increasingly, med school. I still don't understand why any otherwise intelligent person would want to go to law school, even if one were to gain acceptance to a coveted T14. There is so much information out there and yet people still do it, each believing that they will be the "special snowflake" who defies the odds.

I guess those who make it to HYS - and, arguably, those who attend the next three to six - still have very viable options and are not wholly dependent on finding jobs in traditional practice to succeed. Yet, unless they see the law degree as an entrée to politics, I don't understand why one would go that route. However, the prospects are petty dire for the vast majority of those outside this select group.

I don't know if the horror stories of T14 grads juggling six figure loan debt and doc review are still as prevalent as they were in 2008-2012. If so, that makes the issue even more troubling.

Tales like those of the partners discussed in this thread are heartbreaking. As you eloquently put it, "there are no winners." I have no doubt that these individuals focused their entire existence on doing everything right, on reaching the summit. When they reached the peak, they pulled back the curtain, saw nothing there, and were presented with the most fundamental existential crisis. What do you do when your whole life, at least in your subjective value system, turns out to be a façade? 70 hour work weeks, six figure income, and they're still miserable.

They are the embodiment of what Camus spoke in The Myth of Sisyphus: "There is only one really serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that.”

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wearyattorney (Feb 28, 2019 - 1:43 pm)

Harrison Barnes has a good article on why law is a “middle class profession.” It isn’t rich. Its for people who trade time for money and in my opinion it’s stupid on all levels.

If you make a million dollars working 100 hours a week and are taxed at 60 percent, you are not rich. If you own an apartment building and collect rent from it, even if you make half that, you are rich. I think that these biglaw types actually see the real deal because they actually work for the really rich people. It smacks them straight in the face hard because they know the profession is such a tight rope and they get to the top and they are like “holy s***t, I made it but it was all BS.”

I’ve said it over and over. On an apples to apples comparison, everyone fails.

You made equity biglaw partner? You could have made equity status in ibanking for ten times the money for the same work environment and hours.

You made non-equity partner in biglaw? You could have made non-equity status in ibanking for ten times the money for the same work environment and hours.

You come from money and have your own practice? You could have opened lots of other businesses with less liability and less of a time commitment (and more money).

You are a Loser doing s-law? You could have been a teacher on the coasts for more money, no stress, and a better retirement.

I can go on. Law schools compare apples to oranges to con people into going into law, eg comparing a biglaw equity partner to a high school teacher in Mississippii. These are not the same type of person.

The only job law school can offer you that you can’t get doing somewhere else is law school professor. You cannot make 200k plus for less than half a years work, grading a single exam per class, while teaching a college educated audience in an absurdly antiquated manner, and with total job security.

And it get worse every single year as the supply issue gets worse. Idiots think they can niche their way out of it lol. By the time you know about the niche, the niche is hyper saturated and you are shafted.

But to answer your question on why it persists, Boomers. It’s just that simple. They still control the culture. Also, if you speak out about the problems, you make a bad situation worse because the Preps and ultra sociopathic Losers that define their self worth in lawyerdom will make life harder in an already hard situation if you discuss the absolute cr***fest that is law. There is a censorship factor (although not nearly as bad as a decade and a half ago) about discussing what a foolish option law is. Finally, if you practice sh***law and you discuss the problem, you are in really big trouble because your client base will automatically assume you are incompetent and/or you will be ostracized for violating cultural norms.

Net of it is until the Boomers no longer control the culture and we can discuss stuff honestly, this isn’t going to get cured. Like I can’t make a movie where a Port Authority cop is rich, living in a gated community with a boat, and retired at 45 while a lawyer working at the DAs office is struggling to pay the rent and living with ten roommates, that isn’t going to fly. The Boomer’s head will explode because it goes against everything he or she has been taught, which trickles down to everyone else, and the Prep with a trust fund at the DAs office (that also lives in the gated community) wants to tell you he has value and achieved success on his own, and so the movie will get kaibashed. Instead you get Suits and a horde of lemmings marching to their doom.

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jeffm (Feb 28, 2019 - 8:07 pm)

Whether you want to talk about plumbers, janitors, accountants, lawyers or engineers, it's all the same - you have broke ones and rich ones. You can't just look at the rich plumbers and conclude you should have been a plumber. The fact is, you might have been just as broke as a plumber as you would have been as an attorney.

You're right that the most of the public seems to think attorneys are wealthier on the whole. That's because lawyers pretend they are wealthy (to the extent they can). Not only that, look at their hourly rates! 'nuff said.

Show a plumber a bill for legal services, and I'll bet you almost any plumber you meet would be happy to trade his career for a legal career - that is, until they've experienced life in an attorney's world. "I never realized it would be hard to find 2 hours a day to bill. I used to work overtime when I was a plumber."

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wearyattorney (Feb 28, 2019 - 8:47 pm)

Yeah, there are broke ones and rich ones in every profession.

However, comparing someone with a 180 on the LSAT who served in the military to a union welder or plumber in NYC or Boston doesn’t make sense.

Globalization and student loans changed the entire economy. Period end of story. Your generation isn’t going to relent until you are gone. Being a lawyer is not a good career anymore when you make an Apples to apples comparison.

Right now, I can post ten links of cities throughout the United Stares of teachers, cops and others retired early and collecting pensions approaching biglaw salaries, without the stress, instability, and pressure. This is the point. Those are the jobs now if you don’t want to walk the tight rope for life or if you don’t want to be an entrepreneur.

And even if you want to play the zero sum game, there are other zero sum games that make more sense, eg investment banking.

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jeffm (Feb 28, 2019 - 8:51 pm)

I don't disagree. My point is that if you think you'd have been more successful as a plumber, you might be wrong.

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wearyattorney (Mar 1, 2019 - 11:30 am)

I think for some teacher would work. For others cop would work. For others something else would work, including as you keep hinting at plumbing (depending on where you live).

If someone goes into the trades with the expectation that they are going to become a successful business owner, then your implication is correct, he or she may not be successful as the same challenges present themselves as opening a solo practice (except the latter is still riskier because of the time and cost associated with a law degree). However, if you want to work for the California Univesity system as part of their unionized maintenance crew, six figures, heavy duty vacation and sick time, and a hefty pension is on the table.

The culture doesn’t reflect this because there was a time when globalization and immigration didn’t radically change the supply/demand equation of the work force, including the prestigious white collar professions. That time is over now. Your generation will not let this reality be reflected in the culture (for now) because it doesn’t jive with how you grew up.

The key feature is finding what is exempt from both globalization and also has some labor rights due to public sympathy. The old rules don’t work anymore.

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wshakes19 (Feb 28, 2019 - 10:13 pm)

In addition to jeffm's point, I'd also add that being a cop or a teacher or a sanitation worker or some other government non-attorney job that often is held up as the ideal on this board is not necessarily as good as people here make it sound.

I'll preface this by saying that I am a 2012 law school graduate who had great difficulty finding my first job and that said first job ended up being very stressful and negative. I am still a lawyer now, but I'm far from a law school shill or advocate for people to go to law school.

As a cop, you obviously run the risk of being killed in the line of duty every day. Also, being a cop isn't so different from being a litigator in that you have adversarial interactions with people every day, sometimes with people who hate you just for being a cop.

Teaching, at least in New York City where I live, is far from a 40-hour-per-week job. My close friends who are teachers all regularly spend time at home writing lesson plans, grading, and doing other work tasks. The hours may not be Biglaw-like, but I think you have to work at least 50-55 hours a week as a teacher.

Also, in many city school systems, particularly New York City, the parents and students have all of the rights and the teachers and other school staff have all of the responsibilities. In bad schools, teachers can be physically threatened, cursed at, and abused in other ways by students daily with no recourse. I have a close relative who almost lost her job as a school nurse because she was threatened by dangerous students. After she correctly said to the principal and the parents of these students that the students were dangerous, the principal took the side of the students and their mother and claimed that because my relative thought that the students were dangerous, that meant she was racist. I think that if you are being abused by bad students every day, being a teacher can be just as stressful as practicing law. It's especially bad if you are a special education teacher, where you can be bitten, scratched, kicked, and punched by students on any given day.

As a sanitation worker, you are lifting heavy cans every day and breathing in who knows what from the garbage that you handle on a daily basis. You might be able to retire early with a generous pension from a sanitation job, but your health might be so poor that you can't enjoy your retirement.

Moreover, big cities in blue states pay much more to their municipal workers than cities in red states or in more depressed areas of blue states. I'm willing to bet that cop, teacher, and sanitation worker jobs aren't particularly lucrative in depressed blue-state cities like Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York, or red states like Alabama and Mississippi.

Finally, many of the blue state cities that offer generous pay and pensions to municipal employees have pension and retiree health care systems that are greatly unfunded and about to go under water. If you start a municipal job now, you may not get a generous pension. I've even read stories about municipal worker retirees who had part of their pensions clawed back because the pension system was in danger of going bust.

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persius (Feb 28, 2019 - 11:13 pm)

I saw a garbage truck exploded on the road a while back. The road was blocked off because of the fatality. I don’t know if someone through away their C4, or there was an accident and the other cars were already clear. The garbage truck looked like it was carved out of charcoal and there were like fire trucks that were spraying it down.

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toooldtocare (Mar 1, 2019 - 9:23 am)

For the vast majority of attendees, law school is a terrible choice and a lifelong burden. However, this Nirvana of municipal jobs is a mirage. Maybe there are fat cats doing little or nothing, retiring early and enjoying their vacation homes in some limited locales, but in much of the country, and in some very large states(e.g.Texas) government employees aren't getting rich.
And the jobs, everywhere, are extremely difficult to get. Using NYC as an example, the FDNY jobs are generally available to the connected; nepotism rules the day.
And being a cop? Everytime you pull a car over a car, the adventure begins; no thanks.
And as much as the building trades are in demand, they also have the highest rate of suicide:
https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/15/health/occupational-suicide-rate-cdc-study/index.html

It's an extremely tough job market for everyone; I wouldn't recommend a low tier law school to anyone, but it's also important that nobody, other than the old rich, has it easy.

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pherc (Mar 1, 2019 - 3:56 pm)

The idea that teachers have it made is ridiculous. They are overworked and underpaid in much of the country. Weary attorney’s whole post is a little bit absurd - most careers don’t offer riches and the leisurely life. There is a contingent here that doesn’t seem to understand the general nature of work, what typical salaries are, and what most people would understand as success.

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junkwired (Mar 1, 2019 - 4:18 pm)

Used to be a teacher. Hated it. I much prefer the insurance defense grind.

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wearyattorney (Mar 1, 2019 - 5:09 pm)

You were a teacher in a red state or you were not tenure track or you are rich by birth and others will be billling for you once you
get experience or you are a sociopath. That’s the only way your statement is true.

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junkwired (Mar 1, 2019 - 5:51 pm)

I taught English abroad in Korea for several years. Obviously it's different than teaching in the US, but it comes with its own perks, and it's not a bad job for easy-going sorts. In any case, it shouldn't be that hard to believe that some people actually don't mind insurance defense relative to other fields.

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wearyattorney (Mar 1, 2019 - 5:59 pm)

I’m not advocating teaching in Korea, I’m advocating having Bernie Sanders types force idiots to pay you physician salaries without the ability to be fired. That’s reality right now in many cities throughout the country, even though elsewhere that isn’t the case.

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wearyattorney (Mar 1, 2019 - 5:08 pm)

The divide here I think is the general divide between coastal (and Illinois and Boston) situations and everywhere else.

A real tenure track teacher on the coasts or the other places listed above beats lawyering 10/10 unless you have a massive inheritance and/or are a sociopath.

Yes work sucks, all kinds of work sucks. However protected municipal employment in the places that have it beats everything else except owning stuff that produced passive income. Period end of story. I can post endless links, legions of links with real data proving the point.

If post a link here of retired port authority cops drawing 300k pensions, people here are going to tell me that’s really, really hard to do. If I reply that so is becoming an equity partner at a real law firm, there will be hand waving. This is social conditioning from the Flower Children. That economy is over now, eg where you worked for 40 years at GE and got a pension, and you are now in the global economy where you have to compete with Indian Engineers and middle managers that live in a country where slavery is still legal in certain parts, with Mexican tradesmen that get paid cash and receive government benefits, and with Chinese manufactures that lock their employees in a room and make them work 100 hours a week while sleeping in the facility that they work. Act accordingly.

Municipal jobs, including police officer, are not as bad as what the post- industrialized and globalized private sector work force has to deal with it, take the Boomer brainwashing goggles off.

Yeah, lawyering may be better than teaching in Louisiana and maybe all of the red states, but there are other options.

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wshakes19 (Mar 1, 2019 - 8:24 pm)

Even being a tenure-track teacher can be very difficult in a bad school, though, and in most coastal cities, the majority of school districts are bad. Keep in mind that if a student punches, kicks, spits on, or physically threatens you, as a teacher you often have no recourse. If you complain to the principal, he or she may take the student's side and call you a racist.

Cities and entities like the Port Authority can file for bankruptcy. While I agree that cops and teachers are favored by most of the public, I would not bet a ton of money on municipal retiree pensions remaining intact in places like New Jersey for the next 50 years.

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wearyattorney (Mar 1, 2019 - 6:03 pm)

Not as tough or hard as getting and maintaining private sector professional employment in a globalized economy.

Im not advocating you become a roofer in Minnesota, a teacher in Mississippi, a cop in Louisiana, or a fireman in New Mexico. Your statistics are skewed for that reason.

A tradesmen for the CUNY system in New York or the university system in Cali has a very different life than a tradesmen in the Deep South.

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wearyattorney (Mar 1, 2019 - 5:57 pm)

I’m only advocating essential services in big rich cities, not anywhere else. I don’t know what you do if you want or have to live in a red state or depressed area. I suspect the answer is to start working young and being extremely frugal and investing aggressively in high yield funds or take a big investment gamble, eg like cryptocurrency over the last few years, and hope it works out.

Being a teacher in nyc beats law (comparing apples to apples). Period end of story.

Being a cop in NYC beats law. Period end of story. It is not dangerous. There have been less than 1000 casuAlties in 180 years, including the 70s and 911. Boomers told you it was dangerous and it’s embedded in your head the way a 0L is brainwashed to think law is Suits.

Policing is hard, real hard. Teaching is hard, real hard. Globalization and automation will not affect these people because they have the public on their side.

Private sector employment is worse. Being a lawyer is even worse. It will get worse as globalization and automation really kick in high gear.

Some people don’t want a middle of the road life or even a little above that, and I sympathize, but law is not the way even in that circumstance. Go to investment banking, entrepeneurial risk, or marquis civil service, eg port authority police, CALPERs, etc.

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wshakes19 (Mar 1, 2019 - 8:43 pm)

Cryptocurrency is a scam and I expect the people who invested heavily in it to get wiped out. It's backed by nothing and there is no recourse if it goes bad, plus the value of cryptocurrency has gone down greatly over the past year. It's essentially a pyramid scheme and the last place young people just starting out with little money should invest.

I'm an insurance defense lawyer who comes from a middle-class background and both of my parents are longtime city government employees in New York City, so I'm very familiar with the reality of municipal government work in a large, unionized, blue state city. Some teaching jobs in NYC are certainly better than some law jobs here, but being a teacher definitely doesn't beat being a lawyer, "period end of story."

Imagine being kicked, punched, spit on, cursed at, and threatened by students, and having no recourse because if you complain, the parents will call you racist and the principal will take the side of the parents. That's reality in the majority of New York City public schools. I don't know where you live, but Mayor DeBlasio and the last Chancellor Carmen Farina gutted the disciplinary code in the New York City public schools. It's basically impossible to discipline kids, and all but the best schools are nightmares to work in.

The risk of death on the job is only one risk of being a cop. Every day, cops are confronted by people who try to provoke confrontations with insults and hostile language simply because those people hate cops. Also, cops have to respond to dangerous mentally ill people, and the streets of large blue state cities like New York are full of those, as well as filthy homeless (many of whom are also mentally ill) on the streets and in the subways. Have you ever been a cop or any other form of government worker?

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wearyattorney (Mar 1, 2019 - 8:58 pm)

I respond in earnest only out of necessity for potential 0Ls reading this blog.

I know very little about cryptocurrency except that it is an extremely high risk investment and it seems to have paid out enormous dividends for people that got in a decade ago. I don’t advocate extreme risk for people that want a normal life, but some people have a strong desire to be rich and they think law is the way to do it. It isn’t. If you want wealth and want to do it by grinding, do investment banking: same odds, but much higher returns. Otherwise you have to take an extreme risk. Most people lose when they take extreme risks, that’s why the ones that win make out like bandits.

Now let’s put down the Boomer talking points and get down to straight facts. Your parents are teachers and you have it better doing insurance defense? Your parents are eligible to retire at 55 with a fully pension exceeding fifty percent of their final salary. Source: https://www.nysut.org/members/retirees/teachers-retirement-system

Here’s the teacher contract for nyc:

http://www.uft.org/our-rights/salary-schedules/doe/teachers

You get in at 22 with just a BA and make 55k. If you have a masters it’s higher and it grows fast. After ten years, it’s well into the six figures. That’s with tenure, half the year off, being able to take off if you are sick or if a family emergency happens, etc.

Let me know if you want me to post ADA salaries for NY, hint: the salaries are about the same, whee the ADA has no job security, not even half the vacation, no pension, and much more stressful workload.

Cops? Yeah, the job sucks. They are eligible for Tier 2 pensions and there salary exceeds six figures after five years. If you want specifics let me know.

There have been 907 deaths in the NPYD over the last 150 years( includes 911, the 70s and early 90s):

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_York_Police_Department_officers_killed_in_the_line_of_duty

If you want to see what harrowing death statistics look like, checkout lumberjack or fisherman in Alaska.

I’m not saying these jobs are easy, But they are better than law, including most insurance defense jobs. All work sucks, but I’ll take guaranteed six figures with pension at a young age over the American private sector any day is the week.


This guys job sucks too (he deals with mentally ill people, dangerous people, and works stupid hours), but the culture doesn’t feel any sympathy.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/amp/Harris-County-inmate-accused-of-punching-his-12848646.php

Search engine “Public defender punched in face” and let me know what comes up.

And to answer your question, I haven’t worked in the public sector, but I’m not BTDO either and I know his life is better than mine without experiencing it.

If you want other cities, let me know, Californians have an even better deal for example.

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