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Myths of Sisyphus

[ 50 ] February 7, 2013 |

Last spring I participated in a “debate” with Martin Katz, dean of the University of Denver’s law school, at a bar association event. It turned out not to be much of a debate: I presented the argument I published subsequently in my article The Crisis of the American School, and Katz, who had read a draft of the article, said he basically agreed with that argument.

I don’t actually know Katz, but from the few encounters I’ve had with him over the years, he seems like a very bright guy, as well as a pleasant, charming person. These qualities naturally made me want to think well of him. On the other hand, because I realize such qualities are useful if you’re a politician, or a university administrator, or an investment banker, or a serial killer, etc., I’m also aware that as a rational matter being smart and pleasant and charming has exactly nothing to do with one’s character, or lack thereof.

So reading this made me both sad and angry. It should make everyone who cares about reforming legal education both sad and angry, because it’s really bad stuff. (A distinguished colleague from a distinguished law school located outside the great state of Colorado reacted to it thus: “This is insane–so many misstatements and omissions . . . Their selective reporting violates any reasonable standard of professional ethics or academic integrity. Wow.”)

Reading it also made me realize that, for those of us in legal academia trying to do something about the mess we’ve collectively created, every morning our rock awaits us. I don’t have the patience to go through the whole thing line by line, although practically every sentence in Katz’s argument features some sort of statistical sleight of hand or methodological chicanery that does him no credit. To put it bluntly, becoming a law school dean has either destroyed Marty Katz’s reasoning skills, or his willingness to put intellectual integrity ahead of the felt necessities of the time.

Here I’ll focus on Katz’s treatment of DU’s employment and salary data for the class of 2011. Katz argues that legal employment opportunities for new law graduates are on average much better in Colorado than in the country as a whole:

The math in Denver and Colorado is very different. Here the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment projects that there will be roughly 550 lawyer job openings per year over the next few years.[13] This figure understates the job opportunities for JDs in the state, since it only counts jobs for which bar passage is required. (While some critics scoff at jobs that do not require bar passage, many law school graduates seek and enjoy such jobs. Even during the boom years, when law graduates had fewer constraints, roughly 16% selected jobs for which bar passage was not required.[14]) But even counting only the 550 bar-passage-required jobs projected each year in Colorado, the situation looks good. When you consider that our state’s two law schools, the primary suppliers for Colorado’s legal market, produce fewer than 450 new law graduates per year, the math here looks favorable – more than one lawyer job for every law graduate in Colorado. And most of those jobs are in Denver.

Of course lawyers move across state lines. So a comparison of in-state law job openings to in-state law graduates may not fully capture the available jobs situation. Because Denver is such a desirable place to live and practice law, graduates from out of state law schools come here for jobs as well. In 2012, roughly 1,000 people passed the Colorado bar exam. However, because of our strong networks in the Denver legal community (roughly half of the practicing lawyers are our graduates) and our strategic plan designed to produce practice-ready lawyers, our graduates have a strong advantage in competing for jobs in this market.

This argument is weak well past the point of disingenuousness. Presently about 1100 people pass the Colorado bar each year, so the ratio of available legal jobs to annual bar passers is two to one. That figure should daunt the most special of snowflakes, but the actual situation is far more problematic than that ratio suggests.

First, lawyers from nearly 40 states can waive into the Colorado bar if they’ve been practicing for at least five of the last seven years, so the out of state competition for available jobs is hardly limited to out of state people who pass the bar exam. (Recently, I wrote a letter of recommendation for a 2011 CU grad who was trying to get an “entry-level” DA job. The only entry-level feature of the job turned out to be the pay — $48,000 – as it ended up going to a lawyer who had been a DA in a Midwestern state since 2005, and who of course didn’t have to take the Colorado bar to get the job).

And newly available legal jobs don’t just go to experienced lawyers from other states. Some portion of those approximately 550 new jobs for lawyers this year will go to licensed Colorado attorneys who are not currently practicing law, and who have enormous advantages over new graduates in the struggle for scarce positions (For one thing they have actually practiced law, as opposed to being – supposedly — “practice-ready”). In other words, the phrase “new jobs for lawyers” is far from synonymous with “jobs for new lawyers.”

As for the claim that “many law graduates seek and enjoy” non-law jobs, there’s an easy way to test this proposition, which is to look at the employment statistics at a law school where almost all graduates have the choice of taking a job that requires bar admission, and seeing how many choose a “JD preferred” or completely non-legal position instead. For example, in the Stanford class of 2011 a total of nine people took JD preferred jobs, while one took a non-legally related professional position, and no one took a non-professional job. By contrast at DU, 82 graduates took such jobs (the percentages for the respective classes at the two schools who took non-bar required jobs are 5.2% and 28.6%).

With the occasional exception of the person who enrolls in law school to study international sports law in order to become Leo Messi’s agent, people go to law school to be lawyers. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Katz’s argument is that, as he’s well aware, there’s no need to compare the total number of available legal jobs in Colorado to the total number of DU and CU law grads in order to speculate about how many local law graduates get such jobs. He knows the answer to that question: in the class of 2011 140 of 287 DU graduates got full-time “long-term” — meaning with a term of at least year, so this counts state district court judicial clerkships and the like — jobs requiring bar admission. (Almost everyone else in the class who was listed as holding a bar-required job nine months after graduation was in a short-term part-time position funded by the school itself).

Katz’s discussion of the “average” salary of DU law graduates is also problematic. Katz asserts that the average salary of 2011 DU grads nine months after graduation was $70,922. He even gives the impression that he’s being conservative about this, since he then makes the same adjustment NALP now makes with its salary data, which attempts to correct for the higher reporting rates for high salaried positions, and asserts that with this adjustment the average salary becomes $66,713 (What NALP does to create its “adjusted mean” salary figure is to assume that, for example, everyone working for firms of two to ten lawyers is making the same average salary as the 35% of people working for such firms who do report their salaries. This is supposed to correct for the skewing of salary averages that takes place because, by contrast to small firms, 93% of big firm salaries are reported. Needless to say a lot of can openers are being assumed in all this, as there’s every reason to believe that the reported salaries within cohorts are not representative of the non-reported salaries within those cohorts).

But how many 2011 DU law graduates were actually making $71K or $67K in February of 2012? We can’t know the exact answer, but we can make a pretty close approximation. 39% of the class had a salary reported, with a median of $57,500, so we could begin by observing that 19.5% of the class was reported to have a salary of $57,500 or more. Looking at the available data in more detail, the following graduates almost certainly weren’t being paid what Dean Katz characterizes as the “average” salary:

19 unemployed graduates.

3 graduates whose employment status was unknown.

5 graduates who went back to school.

4 graduates who started solo practices.

46 graduates working for firms of two to ten attorneys. (In Colorado these jobs usually pay between $35,000 and $50,000).

73 graduates working in various public positions (the 75th percentile for the 39 reported salaries in this group was $53,000).

28 graduates working in “academia” (26 of these jobs were both short-term and part-time).

59 graduates working in “business and industry.” (It’s rare for a new law graduate to get an in-house legal job, and even rarer for such a graduate to get a high-paying non-legal job. Again for comparison purposes a total of nine 2011 Stanford graduates took “business and industry” jobs, and Stanford is one of a tiny handful of schools that does place a few graduates each year in high-paying consulting jobs and the like).

This leaves the 32 graduates working for law firms of more than ten attorneys. How many of these people were making what Dean Katz is characterizing as the “average” salary of a 2011 DU graduate? We can assume that the 14 graduates working for firms of more than 50 attorneys were. Nine graduates were working for firms of 11-25 lawyers, and nine others got jobs with firms of 26-50. Using NALP national averages for the class of 2011, we can estimate that three people in the former group and six in the latter were making at least $70,000.

So, by this estimate, it’s likely that somewhere around 23 of DU’s 287 graduates (8% of the class) were making $70,000 or more. Now this estimate might be incorrect. It might be 10% of the class. It could conceivably be 12%, if for example one assumes that a dozen of the “business and industry” jobs paid at least $70,000 (This is extremely unlikely in my view. Note that one graduate reported a salary of $350,000 – a figure that by itself raises the “average” reported salary for the class by nearly $4,000, and which suggests none of these figures should be considered models of scientific accuracy).

But by no conceivable stretch can $70,000 be characterized as an “average” – if by average one means in any way typical – salary for 2011 graduates of Dean Katz’s law school.

The saddest part of all this is that Dean Katz knows full well how misleading his presentation of these statistics is. This wouldn’t necessarily be the case with every legal academic: there are people on law school faculties who don’t know the difference between a mean and median, and who believe that salary data regarding graduates are comprehensive and reliable. Whatever else one might say about him Katz –who was a partner at a big Denver law firm before becoming a legal academic — isn’t a blissfully clueless idiot.

What he is, I’m guessing, is increasingly desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.

Comments (50)

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  1. Although it is hard to say what to do about this problem, one thing that has to be done is for the institutions that furnish legal education to start being honest about the fact that we are in a state of crisis. (It isn’t just law school– we’re a piece in the overall crisis in higher education. It’s just that I expect more from our glamor profession.) We are in a bit of a bell-the-cat place: the ABA isn’t going to start carving back accreditations, and the stand-alone law schools (the so-called “law schools of opportunity”) aren’t going to suddenly decide that they should shutter. Law schools attached to universities are still money makers, and the deans of those law schools don’t seem too inclined to propose cutting back class sizes. (It would be interesting to know what the actual market for new lawyers is. I suspect it is larger than the overall market for newly minted liberal arts PhDs, but by how much?)

    The only thing that can be done, I think, is for responsible professionals to try to squash consumer demand by repeating, as you do, the ugly reality. I feel like I’m kicking a kitten every time I tell an undergraduate not to go to law school, but I’m also surprised by how often I’m told that I’m the first to deliver the bleak message.

    • L2P says:

      So true. Doesn’t everybody feel terrible talking to bright-eyed undergrads who are excited about maybe being a lawyer and having to explain what the job prospects are like?

      For me it’s like telling a toddler there’s no Santa Claus. I just had a long email conversation with an undergrad major in international relations about her chances of getting a job in “international law” (I still don’t know what that is). So sad.

      • LFC says:

        If you don’t know what international law is, that would seem to disqualify you from having a conversation w someone specifically about intl law jobs — though you could, I suppose, convey the msg. that it’s generally hard to get a legal job, period.

        • L2P says:

          Are you for real?

          Sadly, I wanted to practice in “international law” when I was in law school. Then I learned there that “international law” is largely a marketing gimmick; some firms say they have an “international law” practice, but there isn’t really such a thing.

          There are transactional lawyers that largely deal with international transactions, there are tax lawyers who largely deal with trade issues, there are government an private lawyers who largely deal with treaties and international relations, there are litigators who largely deal with trans-national disputes, there are of course maritime lawyers. I actually WAS an “international lawyer” for several years; all I did was deals and litigation.

          But there aren’t, as far as I know, many (or any) lawyers who practice “international law.” I don’t know what that is, outside of doing what any other lawyer does except trans-nationally. If you ask 20 different lawyers what “international law” is, you’ll get 20 different answers.

          I’m not alone in rolling my eyes at anyone who looks up with bright eyes and says, “I want to practice international law!” The answer is usually, “Awesome! What are you REALLY going to do?”

          • The Dark Avenger says:

            Yes, it’s somewhat like describing a college professor as a ‘science’ professor, it’s an occupation that exists more in Hollywood movies than in reality.

          • LFC says:

            OK, no one practices “international law.” But, as you suggest, people do practice, e.g., int’l commercial arbitration and litigation, or int’l trade law.

            A few (very few, probably) lucky people even work mostly on int’l human rights. A smallish (probably) # of gov’t lawyers work on treaty law, etc.

            The right response to an undergrad who asks about “intl law” is not complete dismissal but explanation, ISTM. Why expect a 19 or 20 yr old necessarily to know what you know? Isn’t that being a tad bit unreasonable?

            Btw, you may or may not know that there is an org called the American Society of International Law (ASIL). Been around a long time. Mostly academics probably belong but some practitioners too, and a few people who just want to get the journal. (I was a member for a while, b.c I wanted the journal. Then I decided their m’ship fees were too high for me.)

      • Swordsmith says:

        I’ve been somewhat surprised at how well my upper-level undergrads seem to have become aware of the dismal prospects of law school grads. There seems to be a certain sense of schadenfreude – a lot of my students are liberal arts majors whose parents have pushed them to go to law school and who now have a tool to push back.

    • mpowell says:

      There is no crisis until they have trouble filling seats. The things to do are 1) continue publicizing the problems with the market for new law school graduates and 2) continue pressuring the law schools to offer real information on their recent graduate’s employment situations. Hopefully it will not take too much longer for the reduced demand to reduce enrollment. Some law schools may shut down, others may reduce class size and lay off/freeze academic hiring. Unfortunately, there is no good way for this to take place.

    • JoyfulA says:

      I kicked one of those kittens recently, and he said he’ll consider my information. But, really, his career aspiration is practicing politics, not practicing law. If he can stay out of big debt—

  2. Manju says:

    Well Katz’s fate may remind us of the Myth of Sisyphus, but if he doesn’t shape up he’ll be as relevant as Slouching Towards Gomorrah.

  3. Manju says:

    Pull the quote where I do that.

    • The Dark Avenger says:

      Wow, thanks…I never knew about this. Given Lewis’ street-cred, I can see why Liberals believe the falsehoods they do about Byrd.

      Interestingly, Lewis actually has his facts straight. He appears to know that Byrd’s conversion occurred after his rise to Senate Majority Leader…and that by the time he made his remorse public, Strom Thurmond was already dead.

      But he doesn’t say that outright. Its just that what he says is not is not incompatable with those facts.

      I can see how someone not in possession of the facts could read Lewis’ eulogy and jump to the conclusions that Warren came to earlier.

      http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2012/06/is-west-virginia-americas-most-racist-state

      The devolution of the Left “can only be described as a counter-revolution in which many of the hard-won gains of the civil rights movement” if you are unaware of a central aspect of Jim Crow: it was a violent undemocratic racially-coercive political monopoly that served the interest of, well, the Left-leaning Party.

      I mean Alabama went for Adlai Stevenson over Ike. Without Jim Crow there is no Kennedy administration. The New Deal was built on Jim Crow. It literally went hand-in-hand with lynching and segregation. The segregationists were New Dealers and FDR rewarded them, as did his heirs.

      The collapse of Jim Crow completely altered the electoral map. Nothing else compares, not even the Southern Strategy. Post 64, the LW party could no longer rely on this monolithic block. That changed everything. How nice it was to be JFK and know Nixon had no shot in the south while you, a Catholic, did. That just goes to show how deep the evil bond was.

      This is not to say your analysis is without merit, it’s just that you fail to account for the largest factor: the left’s loss of their monopoly. You need to control for this. All this handwringing over why its so much harder for lefties now strikes me as, what electoral-scholar Larry Bartels calls; “a peculiar nostalgia for the racially coercive Democratic monopoly of the Jim Crow era.”

      http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2011/06/20/the-role-of-race-and-racism-in-the-devolution-of-the-left/

      • Manju says:

        OK, I thought you were saying that I blame current Dems for the racism of their old Segregationist wing. But you pulled a Racism Review quote where I demonstrate how Northern Dems of yore reaped the benefits of their collaboration. Yes, I do indeed do that. I don’t deny it as that is a mainstream idea within the civil rights community. And I can provide an impeccable source saying as much:

        According to the Civil Rights Movement Veterans Website*, MLK saw the March on Washington…

        “…as a protest of, and challenge to, the administration’s shameful civil rights record of inactivity, neglect, and collaboration with Southern segregationists.
        http://www.crmvet.org/tim/timhis63.htm

        “Collaboration”.Strong word.

        http://www.crmvet.org/tim/timhis63.htm

        * – “This website is of and by Veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement during the years 1951-1968. It is where we tell it like it was, the way we lived it. With a few minor exceptions, everything on this site was written or created by Movement activists who were direct participants in the events they chronicle.”

        • The Dark Avenger says:

          Yes, that was the March that took place during the Kennedy Administration.

          Which is why you talk about Robert Byrd so often because why?

        • RhZ says:

          You see, Dark Avenger? The reason not to start is that it never ever ends.

          That’s why those waffles are so dang important. And delicious.

          • Rhino says:

            Frankly, my sympathies actually lie with Manju in this little exchange. Congratulations Avenger, you made a semi-troll into a sympathetic figure.

            • spencer says:

              I think that as time goes on, Manju gets less trollish and more performance art-ish. I actually enjoy reading a decent percentage of his posts, for a variety of reasons.

  4. fledermaus says:

    Mean while here’s Eric Bono, J.D., Assistant Dean for Career Opportunities at DU touting their 96.6% emloyment rate.

    • Oscar Goldman says:

      He, along with the rest of the career development office, pulled the same stunt when he worked for CU, as I recall. This was when the class of 2009 was trying to enter the work force. It came as a big surprise to that class to learn of that remarkable success story.

  5. Scott Lemieux says:

    The world is becoming ever more complex

    Oh. Well, these complexities must require a lawyer, and certainly will magically enable me to be able to afford a lawyer. I’m convinced!

  6. Barry says:

    “I don’t actually know Katz, but from the few encounters I’ve had with him over the years, he seems like a very bright guy, as well as a pleasant, charming person. These qualities naturally made me want to think well of him. On the other hand, because I realize such qualities are useful if you’re a politician, or a university administrator, or an investment banker, or a serial killer, etc., I’m also aware that as a rational matter being smart and pleasant and charming has exactly nothing to do with one’s character, or lack thereof.”

    First rule of thumb – pleasant and charming have nothing to do with being good.

    “The saddest part of all this is that Dean Katz knows full well how misleading his presentation of these statistics is. This wouldn’t necessarily be the case with every legal academic: there are people on law school faculties who don’t know the difference between a mean and median, and who believe that salary data regarding graduates are comprehensive and reliable. Whatever else one might say about him Katz –who was a partner at a big Denver law firm before becoming a legal academic — isn’t a blissfully clueless idiot.

    What he is, I’m guessing, is increasingly desperate. And desperate people do desperate things. ”

    Assuming that he has tenure at the university, then the worst that he’d be looking at for being brutally honest is resuming a very, very nice job. for 90-odd percent of the labor force, the result would be unemployment. So he’s deluding hundreds of young people into a f-ed up future each year, in return for the salary bump and prestige of being dean.

    That’s not being desperate, that’s simply being evil.

  7. ChrisS says:

    I see what this is now. It’s a conspiracy of BigLaw to reduce the supply of lawyers to drive salaries back up. You can’t fool me, Campos.

  8. T.R. Donoghue says:

    DU Law alum here and Katz was my con law prof. Easily the worst prof I had in 3 years. Could not have made that subject matter any less interesting (and I tend to find that subject matter very interesting) and been less informative. Huge dissapointment.

    As to his article I can attest that alleged “myths” 2,3, and 4 are most certainly not myths (Allleged myth #1 seems easily disproved through empirical measures). I have been out of school for almost 8 years. It took several years to find a job actually practicing law (I was employed in related work but not practicing). I love what I do now but it is hardly lucrative work (labor lawyer) and the $700 a month in student loan payments are a constant irritant. My wife is an IP paralegal and her salary is very competitive with mine with just a bachelor’s degree and a certificate.

    Ultimately while my professional career started slowly I am happy with my current career path. I’m still not sure that it made economic sense but I don’t feel like law school was an utter waste. That said, Dean Katz’s article reads like something from a door-to-door salesman hawking magic elixers. It’s detached from reality and clearly designed to obfuscate material concerns about law school from potential customers students. It’s very embarassing but not surprising.

    • T.R. Donoghue says:

      I would add that I believe my experience is in keeping with the experience of everyone who graduated with me and who wasn’t in the top 5%.

  9. liberal says:

    University of Denver Law…LOL. A friend of mine graduated in middle age from that place with ~ $150K of debt quite a few year ago. Not only did she never pass the bar, she hasn’t had a secure, OK paying job.

    • TribalistMeathead says:

      My first response for “Why aren’t you going to law school?” after the age of 25 or so was “I’m too old.” I had no desire to compete with other 3Ls and first-years 5-10 years my junior even when the jobs were plentiful, let alone now.

  10. Dave in NYC says:

    “There is no crisis until they have trouble filling seats.”

    They don’t have trouble filling seats at these prices because the government is subsidizing tuition with student loans that may never be paid back.

  11. Rich says:

    I have to say that I’m surprised that the crisi in law employment has suddenly come to notice. At my 10 year high school reunion nearly 30 years ago, the job market for lawyers sucked. A classmate who had just graduated from Ohio State greeted the several other law school students/grads as “dim a dozen” lawyers. He did not yet have a job although he wound up working for a mortgage banking firm and doing ok. These kinds of crises don’t happen over night. The analysis, though, neglects that people do get very responsible positions with law degrees that doin’t involve the usual practice of law. The director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, which funds much of our mental health system is a lawyer rather than a psychiatrist or psychologist, the usual candidates for such a job. Still, one response to he crisi probably has been finding a way to use a legal education doing something over Han drafting wills or defending sleazy businesses.

    • Barry says:

      “The analysis, though, neglects that people do get very responsible positions with law degrees that doin’t involve the usual practice of law. ”

      Please note that (a) ‘with law degrees’ doesn’t mean ‘by means of’, unless you have some evidence you haven’t shown us, and (b) the inflation-adjusted cost of law school is probably 4 times what it was back when your cohort would have been going.

  12. Emma in Sydney says:

    At the risk of inviting a wave of US immigrant lawyers, I’m shocked how low those salaries are. My daughter has just finished her Australian law degree (her debt for a 5 year combined Arts Law degree is c$40K paid back gradually to the government in her taxes over the next few years, once she earns over $40K). She has been working for a year as a paralegal with a state Legal Aid Commission. Her salary is A$58K. When she gets a solicitor’s job, which is very likely, that will certainly go up. It’s not what she could earn in private practice or a big firm here, but it’s a government job on the side of the angels. My father, a solicitor with a different state Legal Aid Commission, works exclusively for prisoners on parole matters and he earns approx A$100K. Legal jobs in Sydney (972 of them advertised this morning) seem to be offering salaries well over that. Perhaps the bubble hasn’t burst here yet?

    • DonM says:

      I am not sure that just because it is a government job that it is on the side of the angels.

      Hope you are right, and that she is, and remains so.

  13. Larry says:

    This lack of ethics is generally what most people think of when they think of lawyers, so in a way this law school is among the ‘popular’ vanguard.

    “(A distinguished colleague from a distinguished law school located outside the great state of Colorado reacted to it thus: “This is insane–so many misstatements and omissions . . . Their selective reporting violates any reasonable standard of professional ethics or academic integrity. Wow.”)”

    P.S. I don’t think of lawyers this way, well, not all of them anyway.

  14. Epicurus says:

    With apologies to Mr. Waits:

    How do we do it? how do we do it? volume, volume, turn up the volume
    Now you’ve heard it advertised, don’t hesitate
    Don’t be caught with your drawers down,
    Don’t be caught with your drawers down
    You can step right up, step right up

    The good Dean Katz has simply become a pitchman. Good luck with that, sir!

  15. Pat says:

    Huh. My first thought reading Katz’s “argument” (such as it is) was roughly, “This would make really good material for the logic-assessment section on the LSAT where they ask you to identify the unstated assumptions, contradictory conclusions, and non sequiturs in a short passage.”

  16. Wilt Cabbage says:

    I graduated in the middle of my class from a second tier law school in 1995. It took 8 years practicing before I made any money. I started out making mid 20′s in a two man shop, jumped up to 38.5 in a state civil litigation position, then sold my condo for advertising capital and lived on unemployment while I started my own PI firm. But then again, it took 3 – 4 years practicing before I was really proficient as a litigator. Now I have young attorneys working for me. Very few have been worth a damn until they get 3 or so years experience.

    Many of the traditional professional routes to affluence are following the same pattern. Dentists, MBAs, architects, and plenty of other careers are slumping.

    I tell students this:
    1. Take advantage of low or no pay positions in firms or government to get your foot in the door while still in law school;
    2. Plan on at least 3 years post-bar as a low paid apprentice before you know whether you’re cut out for it;
    3. You probably wont make enough money for it to be worth the time and cost unless you are:
    a. at a top ten school; or
    b. top ten in your class; or
    c. a strong entrepreneur; or
    d. a skilled politician

  17. Ken says:

    What NALP does to create its “adjusted mean” salary figure is to assume that, for example, everyone working for firms of two to ten lawyers is making the same average salary as the 35% of people working for such firms who do report their salaries.

    Well, that’s a… unique method. I suppose it does lead to a solution to poverty in the NYC metropolitan area. We just take the median reported household income for Westchester county, and assume that all other metro area households have the same median income.

  18. Jerry says:

    I’m not a lawyer. I can barely distinguish a tort from a torte. I do know that this story is happening not just to lawyers, but to many professions. The middle class in this country is fading away, not in some lefty professor’s vision of the distant future, but right here, right now. These are the inevitable consequences.

    • Nathanael says:

      Indeed.

      The proper response is class consciousness. The situation is a matter of governmental policy, and the governmental policy has been “Let the 0.1% run roughshod over everyone else”. It is vital to elect candidates who will eliminate the evil of student loans, guarantee a minimum income, provide fully funded defense lawyers for everyone, etc. etc. etc.

      I do not know how to encourage people to have the proper response. There’s an astounding amount of false consciousness out there, even in this thread.

      • DonM says:

        The problem is the 30% every year in taxes that the government spends, the 20% in taxes every year that the government collects leads to 10% in inflation.

        That isn’t the 1% or the 0.1% problem. That is the fault of the 47% who don’t pay taxes, and the 3% who jigger the government to get special loopholes, or corrupt loans (Solyandra, GM Unions).

        If the government spent less, then more satisfaction would be available because government spending is inefficient Category 4 spending. A better world would have 5% Category 4 spending and 3% Charitable Category 2 Spending, with 97% Category 1 Spending.

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