Law in Popular Culture
Unable to Find Legal Job, Blogger Posts Bah Humbug Tale on YouTube
Posted Dec 14, 2009 2:43 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Unable to find a legal job, a disgruntled 2009 law graduate has turned his talents to a computer-animated video that is now posted on YouTube.
In a new twist on Charles Dickens' classic tale of how a seemingly dreaming Ebenezer Scrooge is taught by a series of ghosts that life is about more than work and money, A Law School Carol focuses on an eager-beaver first-year law student named "Steve" who is visited by the specter of the failed career of the law student who previously rented his apartment.
Warned that his predecessor, "Ralph Marley," is buried in a document review in New Jersey, Steve insists that he can land a prestigious BigLaw job paying a six-figure annual salary if he works hard enough in his third-tier school.
"Clearly, I know better than those sad crybabies," says Steve in response to the spirit's warning that he's an idiot to have such great career expectations.
The next spirit who visits him reminds him of the happier days of the past, when his entry level job paid him enough to cover his modest expenses,without any student loans to worry about, and left him with time to pay Xbox for hours when he wasn't spending time with his girlfriend, Alison.
Steve is still stubbornly seeing a bright future when another spirit visits. He admits that he isn't enjoying law school all that much. Nonetheless, the versatile law degree should help him in any career, he predicts. But he's clearly taken aback to realize that his buddy Dan, without a law degree, will be buying a house—and marrying Alison—by the time that Steve graduates.
Yet another spirit points to a miserable future immediately after graduation as an impoverished Steve studies for the bar exam, is unemployed for six months, then gets his own temporary document review position for a year and eventually lands a starting job at a small firm at an annual salary of $35,000. This income will cover his expenses if he lives with his parents, the specter points out, noting that Steve's prospects will be limited because he won't be in the top 5 percent of his class.
"Isn't there an income-based repayment plan?" Steve asks miserably, wondering aloud whether he can go into solo practice. This will require some capital and, in all likelihood, an alternative source of initial income to cover his expenses, the spirit says.
Happy to awaken and discover that he's still a first-year student who can add and drop courses without significant financial consequence, Steve resolves to leave law school ... although, he notes, he's heard some good things about graduate business programs.
With a six-figure educational debt, he views his own decision to go to law school as a costly mistake:
"Like a lot of people, I took society's view that law school is a good career move and leads to a stable job," he tells the legal publication. "Unfortunately, I think a lot of employment career statistics aren't accurate, and I ended up with buyer's remorse."
Related earlier coverage:
ABAJournal.com: "Was It Worth It? With Debt of Up to $250K, Some Law Grads Are Dubious"