A Lawyer’s Misery For Sale on Craigslist

It’s not the first time. In 2008, David Wold offered his law degree from DePaul for sale on eBay.  Now, another degree, school unknown but for it being “elitist”, is offered on Craigslist for the price of outstanding student loans, $59,250.

The ad shows all the signs of an disgruntled buyer.

After several years of practicing law I have come to the conclusion that my law degree is useless and I don’t want to be a lawyer anymore. Though I spent over $100,000 on it I am willing to sell it for the bargain basement price of $59,250, which is the current value of my remaining student loan balance.

This priceless collectible will permit you to be surrounded by hobby-less assholes whose entire life is dictated by billing by the hour and being anal dickheads. Additionally, this piece of paper has the amazing ability to keep you from doing what you really want to do in life, all in the name of purported prestige and financial success. Finally, girls in the Marina will swoon with retarded thoughts of sugar daddy when they hear you went to XXX prestigious law school and are a lawyer.

Act now as supplies are limited and this crap takes three years to make. DISCLAIMER: this piece of shit isn’t even written in English. It’s in Latin or something, but I have the translation. It says “Haha. We took your tuition money bitch, now suck it. Sincerely, President of the University”

Added Bonus: It’s from one of those elitist BS institutions that accept people like George W. Bush cause their daddy donated $20 million i.e. Cornell, Penn, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Georgetown, Duke, Tijuana Tech, etc. Instead of donating $20 million you can have it for the low low price of $59,250 or best offer.

This is actually a serious post. I will really sell this piece of shit.

No one, of course, will buy the diploma.  It’s just a piece of paper with someone else’s name on it.  It won’t impress the “girls in the Marina.”   Some will see this as another manifesto of a loser, which, of course, it is.  But it’s more a warning to the unwary, to the law schools and to the mommies and daddies who push their little darlings into the law in the hope that they will become more than they were.

The seller blames the law. His anger is understandable, but misdirected.  He should never have gone to law school, never have become a lawyer.  Being a lawyer is hard work.  Becoming a lawyer doesn’t guarantee anyone wealth and prestige.  He made a very expensive mistake, and now finds himself miserable. 

The seller blames the law schools.  He’s closer to the target now.  Law schools sell the dream, the image that fills their high priced seats with young men and women, that pays for over-priced law professors to indulge their fantasies of writing useless articles and treatises for their own self-aggrandizement.  The take in far more students than can possibly find a viable future in the law, knowing full well that society can’t absorb them all, and couldn’t care less.  They fudge the employment statistics to make the cost appear worth it.  They lie to students, and then to themselves to rationalize their deception.

The seller of this diploma, who I will call Max since he’s neglected to include his name in the Craigslist ad, wants to make a point that he was scammed.  Many will argue that if Max is anywhere near as bright and worthy as he thinks, he should have known what he was getting into.  He should have understood what it meant to be a lawyer.  He should have realized that he was being lied to. 

Whether he should have is one issue; that those entering law school, applying for huge loans, sitting eagerly in class hoping to suck in enough information to make law review and assure themselves of a wonderful life, rarely see their future clearly is a truism.  Even with the stories, the posts, the complaints, the hatred that spews from disaffected young lawyers, they believe that their life will be different, wonderful.  Right or wrong, we know this is how they think.  And if they didn’t, half the seats in the ever-increasing number of law schools would be empty. 

Max is wrong.  His anger is misdirected.  The law is a wonderful profession for those who desire to be lawyers.  For those who enter the law because they want wealth, prestige and work/life balance, it will be a misery. 

Even as Max’s ad runs its course, the American Association of Law Schools is preparing for its 2011 conference by seeking ways to deal with the problem.  It’s put out a call for proposals:


A Joint Program of the Sections on Balance in Legal Education and Academic Support>>

Co-Sponsored by the Section on Student Services>>


Theme:    “Beyond Humanizing:  Can – and Should – Law Schools Strive to Graduate Happy Students?”>>


Students often enter law school with goals of helping others, improving peoples’ lives, and making the world a better place.  By the time they graduate, however, other considerations have supplanted students’ pro-social inclinations.  Their aspirations succumb to more extrinsic values, such as prestige and money, and are often faced with the realities of time pressure and the dehumanizing effects of legal education.  Despite the prestige associated with being an attorney, the profession is not ranked in the top ten for job satisfaction or happiness.  In fact, one recent study revealed that a majority of practitioners would not recommend law to a young person.

Nothing shows more clearly how law schools and academics are trying to hide from their massive failings, their deliberate lies, than this charade.  All those very smart people denying that the problem is their sucking in young people who have no business in the law, wholly lacking an understanding of what lawyers do, and selling a sham future at an absurdly inflated price.  Instead, they pretend that it’s all about changing the profession to make students who have no business being in law school “happy”.  Throw them a party.  Give them a trophy.  As long as we keep the seats filled and the tuition checks flowing, so we can spend our time writing articles that will enhance our personal prestige.

Nothing here reflects the slightest recognition of the responsibility of law schools to vet those who apply for people who want to be lawyers.  The fictional paradigm, about those entering with lofty goals and leaving with cynicism, allows them to keep milking the cash cow while shifting the blame elsewhere.

Stop lying to yourselves.  Stop lying to potential law students.  The law is not an easy life, nor clear path to a happy future.  It’s hard work, and not everybody is cut out for it.  The law cannot be reinvented for the benefit of lawyer happiness; We have a job to do and if the purpose of that job ceases to be service to the client so that we can focus on our own happiness, the law ceases to have a reason to exist. 

If you want Max to be happy, don’t throw him an ice cream party or give him a red balloon.  Give him his money back and let him find an occupation for which he is better suited.  Change your law porn to show hard working, financially struggling young lawyers, who can’t get a date with the girls at the Marina, but won’t have time for it even if they could.  Show them fighting for people whose own miserable lives depend on the lawyer doing his job well in a system that satisfies ego and blood lust better than reason, where every once in a while the right result happens.  And if they still want to go to law school, then you’ve got the right person.

Unfortunately, Max is typical of his generation, only brilliant after the fact, and then only when it comes to pointing the finger of blame away from himself.  But narcissism and entitlement are the hallmarks of today’s law students, and that’s not going to change for a while.  At least the Slackoisie can console themselves by knowing that they aren’t totally at fault for being blind pigeons in this scam.  They have good reason to blame law schools and professors. 

6 thoughts on “A Lawyer’s Misery For Sale on Craigslist

  1. RainerK

    How about this corrected version in the spirit of full disclosure:

    … Their aspirations succumb to more extrinsic values, such as prestige and and the realization that they’re $ 100,000 + in the hole with a only a tiny chance of filling it anytime soon.

  2. John Burgess

    I wonder if anyone’s ever done a study on sudden career changes following the death of one or both parents?

    Strictly anecdotally, I seems as though an awful lot of lawyers, doctors, and teachers give up on their careers and make drastic changes once the precipitating parent leaves the scene.


    Disgruntled, disillusioned graduates are across the board not just law students. Society has done well to ‘sell’ the value of a university degree yet there are no guaranteed jobs following 4 years of study only guaranteed debt. Law students get pulled in by all those fantastic lawyer programs on TV. You can’t all be the next Danny Crane or Alan Shore!

  4. SHG

    Sadly, rather than face reality, they continue to pursue their “dreams” and then curse everyone and everything around them for their failure to fulfill them.

  5. Richard L. Bitter Jr.

    The scope of what one can do with a law degree should never be thought of in terms limited to defending DWI’s and real estate closings. I have found the universe to wide open and have made a point of surrounding myself (work wise) with those in the business whose lives are not defined by what they do, rather by what they are.

  6. Donna Larsen

    I don’t think he’s disillusioned with the money he makes or lack of a job. He doesn’t talk about that. He talks about all the loser lawyers he has to work with. As a 3L I have decided against taking the bar for that very reason. Every lawyer I have met is a passive-aggressive cock-sucker, more concerned with the way he/she looks to others than they are about the impact they could make in the world with a little courage. They are insecure, hobbyless, directionless, passionless, wastes of space, and I will not spend another minute with them (except to finish my degree, so I can teach).

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