“Big Debt Small Law” has been found

An industry, not a profession.  That’s our motto here at Big Debt, Small Law. What legal practice has been morphing into for the past 20 years certainly bears little resemblance to the halcyon “profession of ideals” that Webster, Lincoln, and Darrow once practiced. Rather, it’s degenerated into a money-grubbing, paper-churning farce, where the “winners” walk away with millions and the “losers” are packed elbow-to-elbow in sunless boiler rooms and forced to work sweatshop hours for slave wages, under conditions that often shock the conscience. We here feel that sunlight is the best disinfectant, and aim to shine our spotlight on the festering petri-dish that this former profession has lately become.

One of the earliest and still one of the great law school scam blogs, BDSM hilariously exposed the greed of the law school cartel, exploitative law firms, and everyone else taking advantage of naive law school graduates desperate for work. At the time, there was a great resistance from trolls and headstong 0Ls thinking they are special.

You seem to think that the….scamblogger crowd all wanted to end up unemployed and miserable. You’re absolutely certain that for “you,” the law school experience will be radically different. Every single one of you are going to make the top 1%. Every man jack is going to “network” and volunteer and immerse themselves in law like a chrysalis inside a cocoon, emerging in 3 years as beautiful, Biglaw-bound butterflies.

As we scambloggers well know, the reality is that you’ll be flailing around like moths stuck on flypaper. There’s no getting away from Aunt Sallie Mae and the Access Group goons. Eventually, you’ll tire of the struggle and simply whither away and die. So go ahead and make your Facebook page private and ban everyone negative from Top Law Schools. Sign those loan papers and add a few more zeroes to Pat Hobbs’s already bloated bank account. Piss away hundreds of dollars more on casebooks, hornbooks, study aids, exam-taking seminars, flashcards, flow-charts, and whatever other garbage the law school cartel so shamelessly peddles. Sink hour upon hour into memorizing Rule against Perpetuities puzzles until your eyes weep blood. Fork over 4 K more to the BarBri shakedown artists and waste ¾ of a summer cramming the useless drivel and minutiae of bar’zam law into your head.

Yes kids, do all of the above so you can end up unemployed or at best earn far south of what a garbageman, bricklayer, or janitor brings home for twice the hours and stress.

BDSM called out the ABA’s ignorance and denial.

Where were you [the ABA] when law school tuition rose at 3 times the rate of inflation? How do you justify forcing American lawyers to pay bar dues, CLE fees, take the MPRE, report  trust account information, submit to invasive background checks and so on yet allow (and encourage) huge Biglaw firms to reap massive profits by using offshore “lawyers” who have had to endure none of these onerous prerequisites? How do you endorse (and in fact, require!) an education model that renders recent graduates experts on the common law of 16th century England but wholly unprepared to litigate a client’s simple fender bender case here in good old 2009? It is nothing short of pedagogic malpractice, and given the soaring cost of tuition it is simply unconscionable. In the eyes of many lawyers, you have lost all creditability and clearly sold the working-class attorney down the river to further enrich your elitist brethren at large firms and your Ivy-league, ivory tower law professors.

Young lawyers are paying a dear price for the disaster that you’ve sown. Like the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath, many young barristers lead an impoverished, transient life, flocking from one document review project to the next while hoping to stay a paycheck ahead of the loan sharks at Sallie Mae. Some try to cut their teeth in the gutter of insurance defense “practice,” cutting and pasting reams of boilerplate dreck for less money than a day laborer on a landscape crew. The temp agency pimps and their masters in Biglaw routinely lie about pay and hours, treat their fellow attorneys like expendable pieces of garbage, and routinely engage in behavior that violates not only your Rules of Professional Responsibility but also our basic human dignity. You remain deathly silent at the widespread “chill and bill” tactics of Biglaw and the outsourcing of independent legal judgment to unlicensed third world slumdogs, yet are quick to string up some starving solo attorney who dare sends a paralegal to cover a routine court appearance in a trip n’ slip case.

Oh right, you’re going to start a solo practice after graduation? BDSM has been there and lived to tell the horrors. .

Wake up. This is the real fucking world kids, not some Erin Brokovich fairy tale. We at Big Debt write of the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. We’re dead serious when we warn you away from the solo practice pipedream. Not only does solo practice shitlaw offer lower hourly wages than mowing lawns and less job satisfaction than stocking shelves at Wal-Mart, it also features another fun thing called the “order to show cause to withdraw.” In law, when clients don’t pay, judges don’t care. You need to formally get the court’s permission to part ways with the non-paying, bellicose, and obstinate scum that constitute the “clients” of most shitlaw offices In the words of one wag, “they have big problems and empty pockets.”

Now even the graduates of top law schools are feeling the pain. But BDSM gives them a glimpse of their future.

Pass the Kleenex, U Penn! Cry us a river, Columbia! Though we take no delight in crass schadenfreude , it is worth pointing out that those outside the Top 14 schools have been experiencing the “downturn” in legal hiring since about 1985. I found this quote from a current NYU 2-L quite telling:

You almost bank on the big firms hiring you because they’re really the only ones who can help you pay your debt,” he said, his mind already skipping forward to a situation he didn’t choose to articulate. “Quite frankly it would be an absolute disaster. I don’t know what I’d do.”

Since you’re obviously at a loss for words, allow us here at Big Debt to flesh-out your future: Welcome to reality, comrade. You’re barreling head-on into the Stalag 17 of temporary doc review hell! Welcome to $28 an hour straight time, along with cockroach infested basements and retina-burning hours of staring mindlessly into a computer screen. Did I mention the complete lack of health insurance? The lying, pimp-daddy temp agencies who skim 20% of your paycheck each week, cut rates and overtime mid-project, and do everything short of fellatio to keep the sociopathic, money-grubbing Biglaw partners happy at all costs?

Unfortunately, the author of BDSM has pulled the plug a few years ago and his work was solely missed. But his work lives on in the wayback machine. I believe it’s time for the next generation of law school lemmings to experience this blog which should be stapled to every LSAT application and again to anyone with a score below 170. Click below and get a box of kleenex – you’ll be in tears either laughing or crying.



4 thoughts on ““Big Debt Small Law” has been found

  1. Craig

    I found a ton of his articles all bundled together into 1 file on Docstoc (look for it there, you’ll find it), but it seems to be missing some in that file; likewise, I’m trying to navigate through the preserved articles in the wayback machine, and I seem to be missing some by skipping around. I wish there was some way to get ALL of his stuff in one format…

  2. lawmrh

    BDSL was indeed worthwhile reading and was surprised when it was discontinued. I think it’s hard to sustain the anger, no matter how deserving and wholly justified. Thanks for the way back machine visit.


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