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25-34 Year Olds Lawyers are Included in a Lost Generation

Serious economic burdens face the “Lost Generation” of young lawyers aged 25-34, which came of age during a prolonged financial crisis.  The burdens and hurdles faced by these 25-34 year olds maybe higher than any since the 1930s. 

This crisis has extracted a heavy toll on young lawyers included in the Lost Generation.  As noted in the Wall Street Journal, this Generation faces “difficult job prospects, little-to-no-income growth and a historically unprecedented level of student loan, their finances are in a more precarious state than those of prior generations.”  See WSJ, 6/10/14 page C8. 

The Lost Generation of attorneys did not choose to graduate from law school or start their careers during the Great Recession.  Nevertheless, these lawyers have had to struggle through.

Gone are the days of extensive legal training offered by existing law firms.  Jobs are available for trained attorneys, but who trains the novice out of law school or young associate who wants to change substantive arears?  Now, lawyers must seek qualified training on their own or though boot camps--- or risk perishing.  Boot camps have sprung up around the country to satisfy that need.  Bar associations offer 3-hour seminars that are summary sessions. 

However, an intensive boot camp in a substantive area is what young lawyers really need to succeed.  A bankruptcy boot camp is the ideal place for those attorneys who want to learn a marketable legal skill.

-Attorney Robert Schaller

Lawyers Who Aren't Practicing Law

A survey of lawyers who passed the bar in 2000 revealed a decline in the percentage of lawyers practicing law and major differences in pay based on gender, law school ranking and grades.  The survey results were presented at a research seminar sponsored by the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation at the ABA Midyear Meeting in February 2014.  See ABA Journal.com post by Debra Cassens Weiss, 2/8/2014.

Twenty-four percent (24%) of the surveyed lawyers admitted they were not practicing law in 2012, compared to about nine percent (9%) who were not practicing in 2003.  Stated differently, 15% of the lawyers quit the practice of law over the last twelve years.  The study showed a movement from private practice law jobs to business.

The careers with the highest percentage of nonpracticing lawyers were the nonprofit and education sector, where about 75% were not practicing.  Next, lawyers found nonpracticing careers within the federal government, where nearly 26% were not practicing law.

Why did these lawyers leave the practice of law?  Were the careers of these lawyers floundering because of poor legal training in a particular substantive area? Inability to attract clients? Failure to specialize in a particular field?  Failure to acquire a mentor?  

-Attorney Robert Schaller

Bankruptcy Lawyers Need to Become Better Salesmen

Crain's Chicago Business reported that law firms are turning to non-lawyers for sales help.  See writer Steven R. Strahler, CCB online, 2/22/14.  Mr. Strahler stated that Baker & McKenzie LLP hired non-lawyer Gregory Fleischmann from Deloitte LLP to be Baker's director of global marketing in its Chicago office.

Some law firms are hiring outside marketing/sales firms to train lawyers to sell.  Through history, lawyers relied on themselves or other lawyers within their firms to conduct business development.  Now times are changing.

The same is true among bankruptcy lawyers, especially young lawyers.  Bankruptcy lawyers need to learn their craft and market themselves effectively.  This does not come naturally for most lawyers, since most lawyers would say they did not go to law school to become salesmen.  The truth is self-evident:  bankruptcy lawyers need to learn marketing and sales to attract the clients these lawyers wish to serve.

-Attorney Robert Schaller

Discharge Student Loan Debt in Bankruptcy

Cassim v. Educational Credit Management Corporation, 594 F.3d 432 (6th Cir. 2010). A chapter 13 debtor filed an adversary complaint seeking a determination that because of debtor’s disability debtor was entitled to an “undue hardship” discharge of debtor’s student loans. Debtor asserted that debtor’s student loan debts should be discharged when the bankruptcy court enters the general discharge order following completion of the chapter 13 repayment plan. 

The student loan creditor sought to dismiss the adversary complaint on constitutional ripeness grounds. Creditor argued that the student loan debtor would have to wait for the entry of the chapter 13 discharge order before the debtor could file the adversary proceeding. Creditor believed a ruling prior to discharge was simply premature.

The Sixth Circuit framed the issue as whether a bankruptcy court ruling on the undue hardship discharge issue was constitutionally ripe for adjudication prior to the entry of a chapter 13 general discharge that would be entered years later, if ever, and only at the conclusion of the chapter 13 repayment plan. The Circuit Courts are split on this issue and are without Supreme Court guidance. 

The Sixth Circuit found that the question of whether debtor’s student loan debt is dischargeable was constitutionally ripe for review by the bankruptcy court despite the fact that debtor had not yet received a chapter 13 general discharge under Section 1328. The court noted that debtor sought to discharge her student loan obligations under Section 523(a)(8) and creditor sought to prevent debtor from obtaining such relief. If debtor prevailed, the student loan creditor stood to lose some or all of its claim. The court therefore believed that the dispute involved a specifically-defined debt and a statutorily-based claim for relief that debtor was entitled to pursue. Consequently, the court found that the collision of these opposing interests produced a definite and substantial controversy between the parties that was currently ripe for adjudication, and not merely an abstract disagreement.

Blog By: Attorney Robert Schaller

See attorney bio.

You are invited to contact Attorney Schaller at 630-655-1233 or visit his website at Discharging Student Loans to learn about how the bankruptcy laws can help you. 

Bob is a Bankruptcy Scholar as designated by the National Bankruptcy Academy. Attorney Schaller is also a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

For information about Chapter 7 bankruptcy Click Here
For information about Chapter 13 bankruptcy Click Here 

NOTE: Robert Schaller looks forward to the opportunity to talk with you about your legal issues. But please remember that all information on this blog is for advertising and general informational purposes only. 
Please read Bob's disclaimer.

I recommend that you review a few other blogs that may be of interest to you. These blogs are identified in the right column and are set forth below: bankruptcy issues blogbankruptcy and family law issues blogbankruptcy and employment issues blog; and bankruptcy and student loan issues blog.