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"The Coming Law Firm Hiring Crisis":

Aric Press at the American Lawyer looks at current trends in the legal market, and they're not pretty.

If nothing changes, this fall the same law firms that recently laid off lawyers will start welcoming large groups of new lawyers, whom they will pay too well and for whom they will have too little work. If the layoffs were about saving money in a downturn, the new hires will overwhelm any savings and will signal that the firms regard the economic crisis as little more than a mild detour on the golden brick road.

I wish it were otherwise. But consider the current Conventional Wisdom: At law firms work (and profits) are down, attrition is far below average, law school graduates hired in an optimistic time are about to join firms awash in anxiety, and the conveyor belt that will bring still more eager and talented young lawyers aboard is about to start up again.

This does not seem to be a sustainable situation. If it's not, it will, at a minimum, force law firms to make a harsh choice between the lawyers they already have on staff and the ones they're about to welcome.

What does this mean for law schools? I suspect it will become even more difficult to place students with legal employers. This, in turn, will have a big impact on debt-laden students. One big question is whether it will discourage prospective students from entering law school. After all, piling on the debt doesn't seem like such a good deal if it won't be easy to get a well-paying job. And student loans don't seem as easy to come by now as they were before either. In short, law schools may soon feel more of the crunch that law firms, young lawyers, and graduating students are feeling now.

PersonFromPorlock:
I take it that increasing 'sales' by reducing hourly rates is not being considered.
2.17.2009 12:05pm
TN (www):
The whole law firm model is pretty ridiculous, from lockstep advancement, relentless weeding out, fiefdoms wasting resources, poor management skills, hourly billing, etc...

Professional management would be a huge advantage, and when the UK firms were talking about IPOing, it seemed like reform might come.

Of course, on the other side, a shakeout of law schools would not be a bad thing either. From the unaccredited schools of Cali to the numerous other ones out there selling dreams of big salaries without the placements to justify...
2.17.2009 12:06pm
Nunzio:
How about lowering the price of law school tuition. Law School is worth less now that the economic prospects are worse.
2.17.2009 12:07pm
GW 2L (mail):
I don't agree. Law schools are a haven for humanities majors who have no idea what to do with their philosophy degree. This trend will continue precisely because the economy is bad.
2.17.2009 12:08pm
guest890:
Is there any particular reason why law schools would be different from other types of school in this regard? Anyone graduating around now will have a more difficult time finding employment than normal.

As for discouraging law school entry, I'm less certain. The biggest factor would be securing a loan, but aside from that (admittedly serious) point, I'd argue that the rest of the economic indicators probably would encourage one to go to school. Students could either try to find work in this economy, or they could try to spend the recession in school. If they do the latter, job prospects may well have improved four years from now, and they'll have an advanced degree as well.
2.17.2009 12:19pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Many of the law schools that exist now routinely engage in what would be called consumer fraud in another industry, with regard to the way in which their graduates' job prospects are advertised. A radical reduction in tuition or the closure of doors would be desirable. Or the elimination of the third year of school, at the student's option. The currently high pay scale at big law firms reflects many things, but principally: 1) the cost of becoming a lawyer, including educational expenses and foregone income, 2) the unpleasant conditions of the job, 3) the irrealism (for any given associate) of achieving an equity stake in the firm and 4) the average expertise of the lawyers at the firm.

Mess with any of those variables in a positive way, and the salaries and hourly rates will come down. Probably would be a desirable change going forward. But that won't help the people in obscene amounts of law school debt or who missed partnership because the baby boomer partners pulled in the ladder.
2.17.2009 12:23pm
RHJ:
I doubt that fewer students will attend law school because they fear it will be a bad investment. Many law school applicants are unaware of actual job prospects and pay(I hope I am not one of them) and the ones who do read about the recent layoffs and sinking economy may justify law school with the belief that things will be back to close to "normal" by the time they do 2L summer recruiting.
2.17.2009 12:24pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Actually, for my #4, reducing the expertise of lawyers would obviously bring down salaries--but that change would be positive only in that clients may be paying for "too much lawyer," rather like buying an Aston Martin when a Honda will do. In many cases, however, the highest paid lawyer is still a bargain.
2.17.2009 12:43pm
jukeboxgrad's favorite YouTube video:
Q: How could anyone possibly think that paying $160,000 per year to a 25 year old who isn't yet a member of the bar and whose only experience practicing law consists entirely of 10 weeks spent drafting worthless memos and going to baseball games is a good idea?

A: How could anyone possibly think that giving interest-only loans to all comers without verifying income was a good idea?
2.17.2009 12:43pm
Unemployed '08 Grad:
I don't think the current climate will lead to reduced law school enrollment at all. The only thing I see getting in the way is the availability of loans but I'm confident that a further expansion of government backed student loans would come to the rescue if the student loan market gets much worse out there than it is now. And when the loan caps rise so too does tuition. There will always be thousands of bright eyed, bushy tailed 22-year-olds eager to extend their undergrad days with three years at law school no matter what the price tag. Most of them have little concept of what debt they've got themselves into.
2.17.2009 12:44pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Well, I went to law school for three reasons: the near complete uselessness of BAs in history and chemistry for non-teachers, the nature of the work being similar to what I enjoyed about my history degree, and the relative stability and good pay of the profession. (By good pay I mean $60K+; I don't need lots of money to consider myself successful in an area with a low cost of living.)

I knew after my first semester that I wasn't going to get a big law job right out of law school. I'm concerned about the smaller firms. When big law lays off experienced lawyers, they're competing with me for a job at a smaller firm; I have no illusions about my chances in that race.

At this point, I'm hoping that our president's vision of the future will require lots of Army JAGs.
2.17.2009 12:49pm
Ben P:
Having read about this constantly over the past few weeks on ATL, I've got a couple thoughts.

1. This problem is predominately a biglaw problem. Yes, small and medium sized law firms never paid $160k to new associates but many of the ones I'm aware of are weathering this much better. There's being "recession proof" from having a diverse business book and there's being recession resistant from having business areas that are relatively constant despite the state of the economy. Bankruptcy work is booming right now, Insurance companies might try to trim their budgets and review bills more tightly, but the volume of tort work really doesn't change much depending on the economy.


2. Speaking as someone with at least a tiny bit of business experience, building a corporation that depends on 25% annual turnover of employees to make ends meet has something fundamentally wrong with it. From the law angle and the hours that are required to do complex litigation and doc review perhaps it's unavoidable, but that doesn't mean something isn't wrong with the corporation. Layoffs in big firms are shocking because they're rare, but when combined with the turnover data one can see they're pretty much unavoidable.
2.17.2009 12:51pm
Ben P:

Actually, for my #4, reducing the expertise of lawyers would obviously bring down salaries--but that change would be positive only in that clients may be paying for "too much lawyer," rather like buying an Aston Martin when a Honda will do. In many cases, however, the highest paid lawyer is still a bargain.


Perhaps this is my ego and being near the top of my class as a second tier school talking, but I think a lot of this goes on.

In my opinion hiring graduates from top law schools really means that you're hiring graduates who were better at getting into good law schools than anyone else. It says very little about their ability as lawyers.

Continuing on in time, in 99.8% of cases there's very little difference from the result one would get from a big law firm than one would get with an experienced successful attorney in any number of smaller markets.


I understand that in a lot of bet the company litigation even paying $1000 an hour for partners work may be a fraction of the money to be made or saved, and so the fees rise to meet the demand, but in most cases I don't think there's a big difference in the services rendered.
2.17.2009 1:00pm
just me (mail):
The bottom 100 law schools are essentially consumer frauds. Not one (reasonable) person in legal academia would disagree. The current and ongoing bloodbath will migrate from students back into the schools themselves. The sooner the better.
2.17.2009 1:17pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"A: How could anyone possibly think that giving interest-only loans to all comers without verifying income was a good idea?"

Because they could pocket the origination fee and sell the loan to Fannie Mae the next day.
2.17.2009 1:26pm
autolykos:

Many of the law schools that exist now routinely engage in what would be called consumer fraud in another industry, with regard to the way in which their graduates' job prospects are advertised.


I don't think you need to qualify it with respect to the industry. I think the advertised statistics put out by some of these law schools are fraudulent.


In my opinion hiring graduates from top law schools really means that you're hiring graduates who were better at getting into good law schools than anyone else. It says very little about their ability as lawyers.


I don't think anyone would argue this point. The problem is that law firms don't know what a student's ability as a lawyer is during the interview process, so they rely on things they can measure (law school attended, which is a proxy for undergraduate grades and LSAT score, and law school grades) that correlate with the characteristics that they think are correlated with being a good lawyer.


Continuing on in time, in 99.8% of cases there's very little difference from the result one would get from a big law firm than one would get with an experienced successful attorney in any number of smaller markets.


The voices in my head tell me that 97% of statistics that are made up on the spot tend to be misleading and don't really add anything to the conversation.

Substantively, there's a lot of reasons clients choose big, expensive firms. For example, the reason those junior associates get $160K a year isn't because people think they're smart...it's because firms know they can death march them in a way they couldn't for someone making $75K per year. Think about how high the voluntary attrition rate is for junior attorneys. Do you think if you paid the average government worker $160K per year that any of them would ever leave?

More importantly, clients are risk averse and they realize it doesn't make sense to step over dollars to pick up dimes. That's why clients don't take risks on $100 million deals/cases to save $50K in legal fees. Once you get outside the handful of major cities where large law firms are based, the number of attorneys who have the experience and resources necessary to do complex deals falls precipitously.
2.17.2009 1:36pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

The bottom 100 law schools are essentially consumer frauds. Not one (reasonable) person in legal academia would disagree.


199 per the ABA list. (I assume there are a handful of non-ABA accredidated ones too but let's go with the ABA.)

So, half are "frauds"? Seems way too high.

In Ohio at least, the bar exam pass rates do not support that. There is only 1 or rarely 2 that are far lower than the rest.

The rest of the schools trade leadership in pass rates from year to year.
2.17.2009 1:57pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Here we have yet another example of the failure of economic models. An economy is obviously not a set of rational actors. If that were true both students and law firms would behave differently. It makes no sense for a law firm to layoff last year's new associate to hire next year's new associate. If you have less business then stop hiring. It also makes no sense for a student to enroll in a career program that has a negative net present value. In other words, tuition costs and opportunity costs must exceed the present value of excess future income.
2.17.2009 2:06pm
Bright-Eyed Student:
I think the point isn't that the lower tier schools put out students not prepared to be lawyers. The point is that there are simply too many potential lawyers being pumped into a limited system which, for better or worse, judges them in large part on the ranking of their school. If there are not enough jobs and what jobs there are rely on school rank, then (sadly) the bottom tier graduates are often left with terrible job prospects, often irrespective of their individual skills.

Unfortunately I really don't foresee this changing. There is a special allure to law that I don't think will go away anytime soon. The amount of students who go to law school genuinely believing that they will all graduate with a guaranteed six-figure salary is depressing. The amount that go to law school today assuming they will be guaranteed a job at all these days is depressing. Even if half of the big law firms were to tomorrow disappear, I believe it would still be years for such a catastrophe to alter public perception of lawyers and jobs in law, if it did so at all.
2.17.2009 2:18pm
Saplier:
Professor Adler,

What are you and your fellow professors going to do to help your students who are having difficulty finding jobs?
2.17.2009 2:29pm
autolykos:

It also makes no sense for a student to enroll in a career program that has a negative net present value. In other words, tuition costs and opportunity costs must exceed the present value of excess future income.


Well, there's a couple issues here. The first is that schools are outright lying to prospective students. We have law schools that are advertising average starting salaries of graduates in excess of $80K per year, when every lawyer knows the real number isn't anywhere close to that. The kids entering school don't know the schools are lying. They assume (reasonably, in my opinion) that the numbers are accurate and that, if they weren't, one of the numerous regulatory and governing bodies would force the school to correct them.

The second is that kids tend to overestimate their chances of success. I don't know what the percentage of kids who enter your average fourth tier school is that think they'll end up in the top 5%, but I'm sure it's higher than 5%. This isn't economically rational, but it's an expected human behavior.
2.17.2009 2:32pm
THE ABA HAS FAILED:
The ABA has failed law students by accrediting too many law schools and pocketing the money. 50 to 60 law schools ought to be shut down immediately.
2.17.2009 2:38pm
SeaDrive:
Some (many?) law schools have arrangements that a graduate can have loans forgiven in whole or in part if they go into practice in various public interest situations. If a new graduate can not get a job to repay his loans, he will have a strong incentive to get out from under them many way he can. I don't know who takes the financial hit: government, the school, etc., but I expect that a severe recession could bring forth a battalion of public interest lawyers.
2.17.2009 2:45pm
A Law Dawg:
I'm interested to hear the views of those Conspirators (I think Ilya is one) who believe there should be no licensing requirement to be an attorney. If we lived in such a world, how would that difference affect this situation?
2.17.2009 2:56pm
Matt E:
SeaDrive, very few schools have strong loan repayment programs for public service work. I know of very few outside the top 10 schools.



Based on my personal experience as a 3L at a good (but not exceptional) school and my friends across the country there are going to be a TON of newly graduated JDs working as waiters and waitresses. In this economy it is tough to find a good legal job coming out of a top 25 school with decent grades, I can only imagine what the prospects are for people with below average grades from lower tier schools.
2.17.2009 3:00pm
PaulK:

"I think the point isn't that the lower tier schools put out students not prepared to be lawyers. The point is that there are simply too many potential lawyers being pumped into a limited system which, for better or worse, judges them in large part on the ranking of their school."

"The ABA has failed law students by accrediting too many law schools and pocketing the money. 50 to 60 law schools ought to be shut down immediately."


I have a pet theory related to these assertions: it is too easy to practice law. Liberal pleading standards and overly functionalist approaches in non-litigation practice areas such as probate greatly expand the universe of individuals who can master the skills necessary to practice law at all, much less at top-tier levels. A world in which almost anyone can master the meager set of mid-level reasoning and language skills necessary to practice is a world that will produce too many law students and too many attorneys. If practicing law were more intellectually rigorous, the natural pool of candidates would be proportionally smaller, which could help to solve (at least in the long run) both the constricted job market problem (via reduction in the applicant pool) and the associates-as-slave-labor problem (via a natural increase in the value of practitioner talent).
2.17.2009 3:03pm
ASlyJD (mail):
How about having the AMA increase the quotas on the number of new med students? That should decrease the number of law school applicants. :)
2.17.2009 3:03pm
Federal Dog:
"The bottom 100 law schools are essentially consumer frauds. Not one (reasonable) person in legal academia would disagree."

Academic opinion is irrelevant. The professional experience and opinion of working practitioners, by contrast, is relevant to that evaluation.
2.17.2009 3:07pm
autolykos:

Some (many?) law schools have arrangements that a graduate can have loans forgiven in whole or in part if they go into practice in various public interest situations. If a new graduate can not get a job to repay his loans, he will have a strong incentive to get out from under them many way he can.


I don't know for certain, but I believe that the only schools that have these policies are the schools where the students don't really need it (Harvard, Yale, etc.). I haven't heard of such a policy at any schools outside the top 25.
2.17.2009 3:12pm
johnd:
To the contrary, the ABA should get out of the business of accreditation all together. If you can pass the bar exam, you should not be required to go to law school in order to be able to practice. Perhaps the bar exam should be made more difficult to accommodate, but mandatory $180k of schoolin' is a ridiculously stupid barrier to entry.

If you're afraid of a glut of lawyers, acquire better skills. If someone's willing to do your job for less (and your client is willing to hire them), you don't deserve what you're being paid.
2.17.2009 3:12pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"It also makes no sense for a student to enroll in a career program that has a negative net present value. In other words, tuition costs and opportunity costs must exceed the present value of excess future income."

A senior in college today would graduate from law school in May 2012. How does he determine income in 2012? How does he estimate through 2052? Nobody besides Al Gore seems to have a clue what things will be like in 2012-2052. So, how does that liberal arts major know? He needs that to figure the NPV.

If he has time, maybe he can also tell us the 2012 GDP, unemployment, T-Bill rate, and hard red winter wheat production.
2.17.2009 3:14pm
A Law Dawg:
but mandatory $180k of schoolin' is a ridiculously stupid barrier to entry


$180K? What the hell?
2.17.2009 3:15pm
anon.:
The real fraud is that you have to have attended law school and passed a bar to practice law, when lots of bread-and-butter legal work could be done without that training or expense. The bottom 100 law schools wouldn't be such a fraud if they taught a 1- or 2-year program geared towards creating functional lawyers, but they're prohibited from doing so.
2.17.2009 3:18pm
The River Temoc (mail):
I believe that the only schools that have [loan forgiveness policies for public interest work] are the schools where the students don't really need it (Harvard, Yale, etc.).

Would you care to enlighten us as to why students at top law schools "don't really need" loan forgiveness to work in public interest positions? Do you think that all students in those schools are independently wealthy?
2.17.2009 3:24pm
Elliot123 (mail):
And now all those lawyers have to compete with Robert Shapiro, a bunch of programming nerds, and LegalZoom.
2.17.2009 3:24pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Elliot123:

"A senior in college today would graduate from law school in May 2012. How does he determine income in 2012?"



I did this calculation for my daughter. I calculated the amount of extra future salary she would need to justify all the costs (including opportunity costs). I used something like 4% as a discount rate for future income. While far from perfect, this kind of calculation will give some guidance as to whether the time and money invested in law school is like to pay off. You don't have to go very far into the future because the discount factor grows exponentially. This kind of planning is used in business all the time.
2.17.2009 3:29pm
Matthew K:

but mandatory $180k of schoolin' is a ridiculously stupid barrier to entry



$180K? What the hell?

Yeah, it's about that. I ran the numbers awhile back. tuition + living expenses for three years is in that range. Doesn't get a lot better at lower tiers even.

And that's not counting lost income, which could nearly double it.
2.17.2009 3:30pm
Bama 1L:
VC was my happy place where I avoid this topic. But, anyway . . . .

Job prospects for law-school graduates aren't as spectacular as they used to be, but that probably won't depress enrollments, because it's hard for everyone to get jobs. Plenty of people can't get jobs out of college and decide to ride out the down market in school.

The article brings up the possibility of large and mid-size law firms abandoning their current recruiting model. This is a strong possibility. Students and firms make commitments to each other on an insane schedule. A firm hiring 1L summers has one semester of grades to go on. Then 2L hiring/inviting back takes place early in the fall and is based on two semesters. The commitment to hire is formally made over a year before the start date and informally nearly two years, assuming that a firm wants to make job offers to nearly all its 2Ls. Apart from that, it's getting along with people and seeming interested in the work. Summer programs could be scaled back considerably and more firm hiring done during 3L.

Can you really guess how many lawyers you will need two years out? Should anyone feel comfortable about this system? Thus all the panicked 2Ls and 3Ls wondering if there will actually be jobs for them--and, if there are, whether they'll be at all worth having.
2.17.2009 3:30pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"I don't know for certain, but I believe that the only schools that have these policies are the schools where the students don't really need it (Harvard, Yale, etc.). I haven't heard of such a policy at any schools outside the top 25."

I agree and would further circumscribe it. I have never heard of a fully funded LRAP (loan repayment assistance program) at any but a few schools for public interest or government work. It's certainly not common even in the top 25.
2.17.2009 3:36pm
A Law Dawg:
Yeah, it's about that. I ran the numbers awhile back. tuition + living expenses for three years is in that range. Doesn't get a lot better at lower tiers even.


I went to a Tier 1 school and didn't pay even half of 180K for my 3 years, including living expenses.
2.17.2009 3:41pm
Dave N (mail):
Matthew K,

If you already making $60k a year, then law school is probably bad bet. If you are 22 and are looking at a $35-$40k job as a new college graduate with a degree in Art History, then $105-120k in lost income is more realistic.

Assuming the $180k number is realistic (perhaps not if you attend a state law school as an in-state resident), then the "payback" is approximately $300-325k.

That is a very manageable number to "make up" over the course of a legal career.

Of course, opportunity costs go both ways. When I started law school in 1988, I "broke" the rules by continuing to work 3/4 time (at the same 3/4 time job I had the year before law school) for my first year of law school. My first year grades were average (exact middle of the class). My second and third year grades were top 10% (and I ended up graduating in the top 15-20% of my class).

Had I not worked, I can speculate my first year grades would have approximated my second and third year grades and I would have been an alluring hire for BigLaw.

As it was, I graduated without a job, went to work as a prosecutor in a rural county five months after passing the bar, and have no real regrets. I may not have the income, but I do have a life.
2.17.2009 3:41pm
A.C.:
There's no reason for legal education to cost as much as it does. It doesn't require labs or fancy facilities. Somebody stands up to teach, and a group of other somebodies take notes. Much of this is done on a fairly large scale, with one professor teaching a lot of students at once. The main learning tools are books and paper. Those who want computers can supply their own.

Isn't it true that law schools subsidize other parts of the university? And that they do so mostly because they can -- because students, anticipating high salaries, will overpay to an absurd extent?

Perhaps that particular game is coming to an end. In which case, I say good. Pay for the planetarium and art collection some other way. There will always be donors who like to put their names on things, but let those donors emerge AFTER we figure out who will make the big money. Asking for the donations at the start of careers is a mistake.
2.17.2009 3:48pm
SeaDrive:

I have never heard of a fully funded LRAP (loan repayment assistance program) at any but a few schools for public interest or government work.


As it happens, I did learn of it from a student at a well known school in the Palo Alto area. One reason I brought it up was to see if anyone suggested that funding was going to dry up.
2.17.2009 3:54pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
When I was a student at Georgetown U., the school decided to close its astronomy program, despite being one of the oldest of its kind in the country. It turned out that the school was turning out more PhDs in Astronomy than there were new jobs in the profession.

I think the Republic would survive fewer law schools producing fewer attorneys. The one's who would really be hit would be the cable TV stations which seemingly survive on ambulance chaser ads.
2.17.2009 4:07pm
autolykos:

Would you care to enlighten us as to why students at top law schools "don't really need" loan forgiveness to work in public interest positions? Do you think that all students in those schools are independently wealthy?


My only point was that every student at Harvard or Yale who doesn't drool on themselves during their interviews (and some that do) can get a job at a large law firm if they want one. Heck, a couple of years ago, a single New York firm had 48 summer associates from Harvard. Harvard's able to offer their LIPP to induce some of their students to go into public interest because they know few will take it. Hofstra couldn't do the same with their students - they'd be paying 80+% of the class.

My point is not that all Harvard and Yale students are wealthy. I certainly wasn't.
2.17.2009 4:09pm
armchairpunter:
I suspect a number of law school students think of their career track in much the same way as do talented high school athletes. They've been told that only a very select few reach the highest levels--and that careers can be easily derailed by injuries or one sort or another. They've seen the fine print. They continue to believe the dream just long enough to be laden with enough student debt that they're trapped.
2.17.2009 4:10pm
dearieme:
Didn't Adam Smith comment on the permanent surplus of lawyers?
2.17.2009 4:10pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Isn't it true that law schools subsidize other parts of the university?
This is not uncommon, and ditto for business schools. The later don't even have the cost of a law library as required by the ABA for accreditation. The ABA does try to keep the cost up a bit for running a law school, by, for example, the library requirement and their limitations on adjunct faculty.

Which gets to part of the problem with having potentially too many law schools around - they graduate lawyers, and lawyers take antitrust classes, are trained to sue, etc. It appears that the result of that is that the sort of antitrust violations endemic in the AMA's oversight over medical education just don't work in the case of law schools.
2.17.2009 4:43pm
hey (mail):
The firm management model sucks. There is a great deal of work being done on how to improve it. I've worked the problem (not in law, but in two very similar fields). Figuring out how to charge for custom professional services work is HARD.

Yes we have too many law schools, but also a cartel that forces wages up. Funny, but actually rather common - government involvement in economy requires guides who shouldn't have jobs, they've formed a guild to reduce the number of guides below the demand that they've created.

As to why you'd hire expensive lawyers - you just want to hire the smartest people you can. Law isn't particularly tough (we are talking about Liberal Arts grads), so smart people can pick it up easily and deal with the problems you have. You hire a good firm full of Yalies to maintain a relationship and ensure that you don't have too many bet the company litigation issues. They are using their fees to fund communist legislators ("democrats") who will increase the risks requiring you to spend more on fees, but you're stuck.

Great litigators are born, not made, and you see this in the criminal and trial bar. Their experience, and the winnowing out of all the bad ones, is paid for by people with minimal resources or by overburdened government programs, not by people with real money at risk. The people who make it big in those fields don't generally take corporate work, as they're either in it for big money in the plaintiff bar (see the tobacco &asbestos bar/scum) or for power (client #9, Giuliani...) So who would you hire? Someone who's such an idiot that they can't get a 4.0 in philosophy or Women's Studies but might be a decent lawyer, or someone who was a top student at a top school for undergrad and grad school?

When I'm choosing firms, I take the big and expensive firm for establishing a general relationship. If there's a specific problem, I take an expensive boutique. Businesses need lots of people working a brief, and they need all of them to be great. Plaintiff and criminal work can get by on mainly the name partners since they face a simpler problem set.
2.17.2009 4:46pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"This kind of planning is used in business all the time."

Correct. I've used it for years, and it provides excellent information for rational actors in an economy. It is also quite useful in highighting what we don't know, so we can invest the resources to find out. Then we are left with what we can't know, and that may be the most valuable product of the exercise.

This is what a kid faces today. He knows tuition prices. He knows the positive and negative NPVs of different streams of future income under different rates. But he doesn't know what the prevailing wages will be when he actually encounters those future income streams. He lacks an employment contract.

We built wonderful models for oil field development, then sat around and said, "Uh, so, well, now what do we use for future oil prices." We knew how low they could get, but had no idea if they would ever get there.

One factor I would add to the kid's evaluation is expected inflation. I belong to the school that thinks a trillion here and a trillion there eventually gives us inflation. We don't know, but the scenarios belong in the analysis portfolio. Borrowing $80k today for law school may be the deal of the century.
2.17.2009 4:52pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
I think its a mistake to assume that in a few years the US economy will go back to "normal," and lawyers will have high paying jobs again. The US must shift from a service economy towards a production economy. This means fewer jobs in the FIRE (Finance Insurance Real Estate) and law sectors, and more jobs in manufacturing. Students simply won't have the resources to spend 3 years of law school.
2.17.2009 4:52pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Elliot123:

"Borrowing $80k today for law school may be the deal of the century."

Some of my daughter's law school loans have adjustable rates linked to LIBOR, but fortunately most are fixed rate. Inflation is a big threat, so I think it will be hard to get fixed rate loans in the future.
2.17.2009 4:57pm
anon123:
I think some people are exaggerating numbers. With regards to the cost of law school, public v. private and in-state v. out-of-stte (for public), makes a BIG difference. There are things such as scholarships too. And with regards to the number of law schools which ought to be cut, I agree that there are too many lawyers, but, believe it or not, graduates from some T3 and T4 schools do end up doing okay.
2.17.2009 5:10pm
Anon21:
As a college senior who has just finished applying to law schools, threads like this and their counterparts, speculating about how much harder it's going to be to even get into law school this year, terrify me abjectly. Frankly, it's the latter that terrify me more for the present, because it's the more immediate problem and I have no real way of knowing how much I should adjust last year's GPAs and LSATS upward to deal with the influx of (a) people who were laid off in the last year and (b) students who would otherwise choose to start working instead heading to law school. The whole situation is quite depressing for a person who's been planning on law school for something like eight years at this point, but I suppose I can't feel too sorry for myself before I start actually getting rejected from schools.
2.17.2009 5:17pm
CJColucci:
From the client's point of view, what sense does it make to lay off relatively experienced (4-5 year) associates, who are just hitting their stride as lawyers and making actual contributions to whatever they work on, and replacing them with kids out of law school who aren't worth anywhere near what they're paid? (I wasn't worth it when the big firm kids were making a third of what they make now. I'm sure they're not worth it now.) Maybe the firm will have to adjust hourly rates to reflect the experienced lawyers doing scut work at slack times, but the firm has to write off much of the wheel-spinning time the kids rack up on scut work anyway. If I ran a firm, I think I'd avoid the "pyramid" structure and try to develop a "diamond" structure: a few very-highly compensated partners who bring in business and run the bet-the-company stuff, a large corps of decently-paid, productive lawyers who can stick around and do very valuable work for clients -- with the prospect, if the moon and sun and stars line up right, of becoming a big shot, but having a nice career if they don't -- and a relatively small group of kids to replenish the ranks.
2.17.2009 5:52pm
1Ler:
Anon21, you might be surprised to learn that applications at most schools are pretty close to last year's level (per our admissions staff). So good luck!
2.17.2009 5:54pm
RPT (mail):
What effect does the seven figure partner compensation structure have on all of this? How many firms are at that level? I saw a semi-hysterical NLJ online headline about Cadwalader...and another about Latham.....average profits per partner going below $2M! How can they live on less than $2M?
2.17.2009 6:25pm
anon5280 (mail):
I went to law school in the early 1980s with no intention of practicing law. A friend introduced me to a friend of his who was an eminent law prof who told me that a JD in the 1980s was like a good BA in the early 1900s.

I worked all the way through and had little debt when I finished.

Law school was worthwhile for me, and has been useful in business. Since I never intended to practice and had little debt, the legal hiring market meant little tome. However, one of my professors did convince me to take the bar exam since it was only a few more weeks work, and I passed with no problem.

Some law schools should consider marketing themselves as offering "The Real Liberal Arts Degree."
2.17.2009 6:26pm
Feldman:
Meh. Life's a risk. There are many more riskier enterprises than going to a good law-school. But I agree that you better think long and hard about going to a lesser ranked law-school.
2.17.2009 7:34pm
SFJD (www):
There are lower ranked law schools that offer LRAP. I graduated from a T4 in the Bay Area that offers one.
2.17.2009 7:38pm
Mike S.:
While there may be too many lawyers in the sense that you can find one to sue a company for having a sale on its product, or approve torture, or bring junk science into the courtroom, the market does not reflect a glut. If there were one, the price would be lower. No Ph.D. in science or engineering (a much more demanding course of study) graduates with a $160,000 starting salary. Nor can one hire a lawyer to do a simple real estate closing in Boston (a job done without any formal training in many states) or fill out a basic will for anything resembling minimum wage, or even the going rate for a competant clerical worker, as you could if there were a glut of lawyers.
2.17.2009 7:51pm
TerrencePhilip:
I suspect it will become even more difficult to place students with legal employers. This, in turn, will have a big impact on debt-laden students. One big question is whether it will discourage prospective students from entering law school.

Very doubtful: law school applications tend to rise during recessions, as intelligent undergraduate students see immediate job prospects fall, and people a few years out of college are forced into career change. I doubt that many prospective law students think that, 3 years from now, the job market will be as bad as now or worse.
2.17.2009 8:10pm
BladeDoc (mail):
Do we actually need 1 lawyer for every 250 - 300 people in the US? Most countries seem to survive with a heck of a lot less.
2.17.2009 8:13pm
Bama 1L:
From the client's point of view, what sense does it make to lay off relatively experienced (4-5 year) associates, who are just hitting their stride as lawyers and making actual contributions to whatever they work on, and replacing them with kids out of law school who aren't worth anywhere near what they're paid? (I wasn't worth it when the big firm kids were making a third of what they make now. I'm sure they're not worth it now.)

The kid's hourly rate is lower than the mid-level's.
2.17.2009 8:14pm
Esquire:
Congress recently passed a new "Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program" for all federally-backed student loans for anyone who works for 10 years in a "public service" job -- which is quite loosely defined to include any non-profit organization or any form of government job.

Moreover, Congress also passed a new "Income-Based Repayment Plan" taking effect this July 1 which, in conjunction with the 10-year forgiveness deal, can radically reduce any law graduate's overall burden.

I believe it was a Georgetown law prof who pushed for it and got it passed -- he has a law review article describing it but I can't find it at the moment.

This at least alleviates the burden foisted on some of the countless defrauded law students...although I do wish it was the schools themselves and not Uncle Sam absorbing the gap!

I actually don't even work in law, but I'll still be using this to help manage my enourmous law school debt that so far has kept me from affording a house...
2.17.2009 9:03pm
Alligator:

$180K? What the hell?


I'm finishing my 3L year and am looking at $200k. I lost the lottery after my first year to keep my subsidized student housing, so my housing costs doubled. (Yes, I live in New York.)

Esquire, don't graduates still have to make payments for the 10 years before loan forgiveness kicks in? A few of my friends have taken public interest jobs in New York and they're concerned that they won't be able to pay rent, eat, and make payments on their loans.

Anon21, I implore you: wait to go to law school. I know the job market is crap but working before law school will give you a tremendous advantage. Trust me, the law school work load will seem like a breeze after spending a couple years on the job. You won't hesitate to spend hours studying while the straight-from-college kids are out boozing (or simply "getting through" their assignments) because you will truly know what's waiting for you if your grades aren't top-notch and you can't get a job.
2.17.2009 9:59pm
Public_Defender (mail):

The bottom 100 law schools are essentially consumer frauds. Not one (reasonable) person in legal academia would disagree. The current and ongoing bloodbath will migrate from students back into the schools themselves. The sooner the better.

I disagree. Many law students would be better served by going to a school a tier or two below the level that they could squeak into. They are more likely to get generous financial aid, and a low debt load would give them a lot more flexibility when starting their career than a middle- or bottom-of-the-class degree from a top school.

I have a degree from a "top" law school, and I realize that it's essential to be near the top of your class at a top school to get a big firm or plum federal government job right out of school. Also, for the rest of your career, a degree from a top school means others will give you a presumption of intelligence. But it's a rebuttable presumption, and all too many work very hard to rebut it.

Also, believe it or not, many lawyers just hang out a shingle after law school. In criminal defense, if you are good and you work hard, you will be noticed. Other lawyers will then start to refer clients to you. If you have a little brain for business, you can do fine. Not $100K-the-first-year fine, but fine. (An aside: The real money is in misdemeanors, especially DUI.)

Another big difference between lower tier and higher tier schools is that lower tier students actually fail people. Once you get into a top law school, you really have to work to fail. That's part of the reason that, at least in my state, medium size firms snap up the top few graduates from lower tier schools.

I know my office has turned down top-tier law grads for grads from lower-tier schools. After a year or two, experience and quality of work matter more than the quality of the degree on your wall. We're not Weil Whatever and Whatever, but a lot more lawyers find work in offices like ours than at Weil Whatever and Whatever.
2.17.2009 10:14pm
MarkField (mail):

Anon21, I implore you: wait to go to law school. I know the job market is crap but working before law school will give you a tremendous advantage. Trust me, the law school work load will seem like a breeze after spending a couple years on the job. You won't hesitate to spend hours studying while the straight-from-college kids are out boozing (or simply "getting through" their assignments) because you will truly know what's waiting for you if your grades aren't top-notch and you can't get a job.


This is great advice.
2.17.2009 10:33pm
Anon21:
Alligator:
Anon21, I implore you: wait to go to law school. I know the job market is crap but working before law school will give you a tremendous advantage. Trust me, the law school work load will seem like a breeze after spending a couple years on the job. You won't hesitate to spend hours studying while the straight-from-college kids are out boozing (or simply "getting through" their assignments) because you will truly know what's waiting for you if your grades aren't top-notch and you can't get a job.

I'm sure this is great advice, as Mark Field says, and I do appreciate it. I have also heard it from some people I know in my life who I greatly respect, as well as some attorneys whose brains I've been able to pick. But it's hard advice for me to accept, personally, because going to law school and becoming a lawyer is an ambition of such long standing for me. Given that I have already applied, I find it hard to believe that my hypothetical self who has just gotten into one of the nation's top law schools (if I am so fortunate) would pass it up for a crappy job that I would explicitly be taking on on a temporary basis.

Perhaps a rationalization, but I think almost anyone in a similar situation would probably react similarly, especially with the job market like it is. I do worry, quite deeply, about my ability to excel at law school--I procrastinate and do a fair amount of scraping by as is, and I know that it's entirely possible that 1L will kick my ass. Even it doesn't, skating by in law school means not getting on the review or doing the clinic that makes you stand out from the crowd. Nonetheless, I feel in some ways as though this is a choice I made a long time ago (including with regard to timing), and that it would be very difficult and costly to change course now.

As I said, I appreciate the advice. I hope that I can find within me the internal motivation to overcome the problems that the average fresh out of college student encounters in law school.
2.17.2009 11:10pm
Dave N (mail):
I second Mark Field (a rare but not unknown occurance) and Alligator. I was 28 when I started law school.

Looking back, those of us who spent a few years in "the real world" did better in school and were more focused.

I didn't have a job when I graduated, but I also knew how to focus my job search and had a more enriching law school experience than my colleagues who had no idea what a real job was like.
2.17.2009 11:13pm
EPluribusMoney (mail):
I graduated from a T4 in the Bay Area that offers one.

Hudson Bay? Tampa Bay? Chesapeake Bay? There are a few you know.
2.17.2009 11:15pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I'm finishing my 3L year and am looking at $200k."

This amazes me. Could you give a brief breakdown of $66,000 per year?
2.17.2009 11:41pm
Alligator:

This amazes me. Could you give a brief breakdown of $66,000 per year?

From the financial aid office:
Tuition and fees: $41,656
Books: $1,177
Housing: $14,151*
Personal Expenses: $5,5667
Transportation: $1,011
Total: $63,662

*You can rent an apartment for less than $1,200/month in Staten Island and the Bronx, and in the outer parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens (or the less safe areas). $1,200/month is also feasible if you have roommates. During my first year of law school, I discovered that I had a hard time focusing with someone else in the apartment, regardless of what they were doing, so I now pay almost $2,000/month ($24,000/year) to live 20-30 minutes from school. I could have taken a place that was half the size for $1750/month but decided it wasn't worth it.

This may shock anyone who isn't familiar with the rental market in NYC, but more than a few people have remarked on what a great deal I got for my place.
2.18.2009 12:02am
Pendulum (mail):
I'm in-state public, and looking at $110,000+. (I'm a 2L)

$21,000 tuition (increasing 10% a year)
$20,000 cost of living (including law books, parking, health and car insurance, etc.)
---
$41,000
- 2,000 scholarship
--
$39,000 x 3 = $117k, give or take 10k.
2.18.2009 1:40am
TRE:
The above poster who says people should go to lower tiered law schools is almost totally wrong. If you can get into a top 5/10 law school you have it made as soon as you are admitted. Otherwise any tier 1 school is basically the same.
2.18.2009 1:50am
Dave N (mail):
EPluribus Money,

You have to know that there is only ONE Bay Area just as anyone outside of Baton Rouge or New Orleans knows that LA is the city and not the state--and New York is ALWAYS the city and not the state.
2.18.2009 1:54am
Brian G (mail) (www):
I went to a 2nd tier state school:

$7K, 7K, and 4K (I graduated in 2 1/2 years) were my tuition rates.

I cannot believe anyone would pay $40K to go to, say NY Law School or Brooklyn Law School.
2.18.2009 3:46am
hawkins:

$180K? What the hell?


More. Many law schools in big cities say total costs are at least $100k/year.
2.18.2009 8:14am
jukeboxgrad's favorite YouTube video:
The kid's hourly rate is lower than the mid-level's.

The hourly rate is supposed to reflect the value you get out of that hour of work, and a mid-level will almost always give you more value per hour than a n00b.

If the problem is that there isn't enough mid-level work to support 2,000 hours per year and consequently your mid-levels are doing a lot of scutwork, the solution isn't to lay off your mid-levels. They're good attorneys, they're tested, and they know your office's system. When work picks up you're going to want them.

If your billing and compensation practices force you to lay off productive lawyers in favor of inexperienced lawyers, then you need to get some new billing and compensation practices. Perhaps rather than treating all hours equally, the firm could bill based on the difficulty of the work. If the mid-level is doing true mid-level work, charge $350 or $400. If he's doing junior associate work, charge $250. If he's doing paralegal work, charge $100. If he's doing secretarial work, charge $50. I know the argument for treating all hours equally - it reflects the opportunity cost of that lawyer's time - but that's nonsense. If there was $400/hr work the mid-level could be doing instead of the $50/hr work he's actually doing, he'd be doing the $400/hr work. Treating every hour of work as if the opportunity cost of every hour is equal is madness.

Mid-level salaries would necessarily decline to reflect these changes. But if they don't like it, they can quit, which accomplishes the same thing as laying them off would. And in this legal market, I can't see much voluntary quitting happening.
2.18.2009 9:03am
autolykos:

Mid-level salaries would necessarily decline to reflect these changes. But if they don't like it, they can quit, which accomplishes the same thing as laying them off would. And in this legal market, I can't see much voluntary quitting happening.


That's fine...until the market turns. Indeed, most firms are freezing salaries now. Attrition rates will remain low until the market turns, almost regardless of what firms do. If the market turns quickly though, you don't want to not have any seniors because they all were all bitter and left because you jack-moved them when they were mid-levels.
2.18.2009 10:17am
Calderon:
On going straight to law school versus working, I'll throw in my counter to Alligator and Mark Field. I don't think a prospective law student should rely on anecdotes as opposed to statistics, and I'm not sure if there are any statistics showing that students who work before going to law school perform better.

My own experience is that most of the people near the top of my law school class (I went to a "Top 14" law school) either went straight through, or had been in PhD programs between college and law school. I think going straight through makes some sense as testing in law school is fairly similar to testing in college. Working for years may get people out of the groove of studying, test writing, and so forth. Working and then needing to re-adjusting to academic life could cause you to do worse -- especially in the critical first year -- than people who went straight through.

As for Adler's original post, I think most of the damage from the recent financial crisis is going to be felt in NYC. This certainly will have effects in other markets, as students who before would have gone to NYC go to LA, SF, Boston, DC, Chicago, or wherever else instead. There's also likely to be very slow salary growth for the next decade or so, as law firms won't need to compete as much with investment banks for employees. All that said, I don't think salaries will actually be cut or that people who graduate from good schools will be unable to find six figure jobs at graduation.
2.18.2009 10:28am
CJColucci:
To supplement jukeboxgrad's comment, the client doesn't care what you pay the mid-level, it cares what you charge for the mid-level. And what the client gets for what it is charged. What the firm cares about is realized billings, not gross hours billed. The lower-charging kid doing scut work may run up a lot of hours, but many of them never show up on the bill if the billing partner has either a conscience or a savvy client. The mid-level doing scut work -- even at a reduced rate -- takes less time and gets it done right, allowing the firm to bill, and collect, a higher percentage of the time actually spent.
I'm not sure that compensation cuts for the mid-levels are necessary, though a freeze might be. If the mid-level is productive and half or more of his or her work is at or near normal rates, salary and overhead will be covered, and there should be enough left over for at least some contribuition to the partner profit pool.
2.18.2009 10:48am
MarkField (mail):
One point about the cost: some of the people posting lower cost numbers should say what years they attended. I paid a LOT less for law school than $60k/year, but I graduated quite a while ago. One way I compare these things is to take the ratio of total debt to first year salary at a BigLaw firm. By that standard, my cost was about 2/3 of what today's students pay, though in nominal dollars far less.

Just to add to my point about taking time off. I went straight through and consider it probably the biggest mistake of my life. Like Anon21, I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer. Unfortunately, I was kind of burned out on school by the end of college and I HATED law school, especially my first year. Not only did this cost me in terms of class standing, but I found that I was more immature than I should have been when I began practicing.

My daughter is a 2L now and her cost for law school is going to be in the same ballpark as Alligator's. She tells me that the median age of her class is 24, meaning over half of them took time off. The top of her class consists disproportionately of those who did so. JMHO, but I think the experience of working makes a huge difference in the maturity with which you approach the classes and the amount of time you're willing to spend studying. My daughter spent two years teaching with Teach for America (in Watts!), and I guarantee that this did more to prepare her for law school than all her academics.

This doesn't mean going straight through is impossible. Lots of people do it. And, obviously, you're foregoing 2 years of potentially high salary. But based on my own experience, I highly recommend it.
2.18.2009 10:54am
MarkField (mail):
For all the focus here on associates, I think there's another aspect to the current crisis which people may want to discuss. There are lots of lawyers in LA losing their jobs after practicing for 15 years or even more. They are the ones who really have it hard. They're too old to get associate jobs like the 4th and 5th years laid off from a BigLaw firm, and they often don't have the business to make it on their own or to join a firm.

If I were running a BigLaw firm (I'm not), I'd think it would be a competitive advantage to hire such lawyers and pay them what I pay a 5th or 6th year associate. They'd take the money in a heartbeat, they'd do the job more efficiently, and a high percentage of that time would be recoverable from the client.
2.18.2009 11:00am
autolykos:

If I were running a BigLaw firm (I'm not), I'd think it would be a competitive advantage to hire such lawyers and pay them what I pay a 5th or 6th year associate. They'd take the money in a heartbeat, they'd do the job more efficiently, and a high percentage of that time would be recoverable from the client.


Well, this highlights a controversial aspect of the entire large law firm model (that's starting to change to some degree).

Firms have always followed the "up-or-out" model. As a result, after 7 years, firms are effectively firing (counseling out) senior associates who they don't plan on making partner. Many of these associates would be more than happy to continue working at the firm at their then current salary, but firms have traditionally not given them that option.

That choice on behalf of the firm isn't entirely irrational. For example, the longer you keep those people around, the more likely they'll be to create relationships with firm clients that are portable. That being said, it's certainly something firms continue to look at.
2.18.2009 11:29am
cognitis:
So the Ivy League's venerable edifices devolve to ruin. First, Ivies destroyed "early admit" privileges of the upper middle class; then, Ivies pandered to the middle-class free tuitions; all this progress done in order to replace lost prestige of a decadent upper and upper middle class with merit; finally, Ivy endowments' calamitous losses debilitate efforts to honor promises of free tuition. Within 5-10 years Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan, even Illinois will supergress the Ivy ruins.
2.18.2009 12:16pm
trad and anon (mail):
Is there any reason it couldn't be handled as an undergraduate major, perhaps with more coursework requirements than the average major? That would reduce the expense a great deal.
2.18.2009 12:27pm
1Ler:
These 180k horror stories are ridiculous. No one in his or her right mind would have taken on that much debt. Free law school is out there for almost anyone who wants it; If you just had to go to a top ten school, you're the only one to blame for the debt. It's no different from the mortgage mess.
2.18.2009 12:58pm
CJColucci:
Mark Field:
As a long-tme government lawyer with some ancient BigLaw and boutique experience, (and a kitchen that needs remodeling) all I can say is, from your lips to God's ear.
2.18.2009 1:16pm
cognitis:
1L:

See my above post. Total destruction of US I-banks now is destroying Biglaw; the now universal perception of Biglaw's decimation of its associates causes prospective law students to reject the Ivy and favor top state schools. Expect the Ivy to petition for state funding, just as Goldman petitioned for federal funding after having destroyed its I-bank.
2.18.2009 1:20pm
Virginian:

Firms have always followed the "up-or-out" model. As a result, after 7 years, firms are effectively firing (counseling out) senior associates who they don't plan on making partner. Many of these associates would be more than happy to continue working at the firm at their then current salary, but firms have traditionally not given them that option.


When I worked at a big firm, I often commented that I would prefer my billable hour requirement go down every year rather than my salary go up every year. The mid-level associate salary was quite enough to live comfortably on (especially in Charlotte), but 2000 hours/year made it quite difficult to actually have a life.
2.18.2009 1:22pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Jeez. I was going to be all sympathetic and stuff, but living in the Rust Belt was taking up my sympathy.
Then I figured that if anybody is capable of actually making work, which is to say, manufacturing it out of nothing, it's attorneys.
So my sympathy is for the rest of us.
2.18.2009 1:41pm
Kenvee:
Just to add to my point about taking time off. I went straight through and consider it probably the biggest mistake of my life. Like Anon21, I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer. Unfortunately, I was kind of burned out on school by the end of college and I HATED law school, especially my first year. Not only did this cost me in terms of class standing, but I found that I was more immature than I should have been when I began practicing.


This was me absolutely. I wanted to be a lawyer from a very young age, and everything I did in school was focused to that end. I graduated college in 3 years and went straight to law school. But yes, I was burned out and didn't even realize it until I saw how low my first-semester grades were. My second year grades were pretty good, but by then I realized that I'd already badly hurt my chances at the kind of places that you need stellar grades for, so I decided to save my sanity and aim for not much more than just graduation. My grades and class ranks were NOT the kind that would help me get any job, so I had a much harder row to hoe. I consider law school the 3 most miserable years of my life, and I know I didn't get nearly what I should have out of the experience. It was absolutely my own fault, but I think I could have avoided it if I'd taken a few years off first.
2.18.2009 2:57pm
anon123:
I went straight to law school from undergrad and my first year law school grades were just fine (they were pretty good, actually). Each person is different. Not everyone needs to take time off. And for some people, once they enter the work force, it's hard to leave and go back to being a student not making any money.
2.18.2009 4:08pm
Blue:
This is not simply a law issue. In general our society vastly overproduces graduate degrees of all stripes (particularly in education).
2.18.2009 4:13pm
SFJD (www):

Hudson Bay? Tampa Bay? Chesapeake Bay? There are a few you know.


San Francisco Bay Area. The one I dastardly hid in my cleverly designed screen name.
2.18.2009 7:54pm

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