Jordan Harbinger, Interesting Guy, Not Best Face of BigLaw Layoffs

by lawshucks on April 22, 2012

Major law firms have laid off more than 15,000 people, almost 6,000 of which are lawyers.  Given that sample size, we have to believe that there are a few who would elicit a little more sympathy for the rest than Jordan Harbinger.

Harbinger is actually really interesting, and is making lemons out of lemonade.  He’s a blogger and a talking head about dating advice for man.  We have no idea how crowded that field is, but since he’s part of Kevin Smith’s SModcast network (we’re big fans of Mr. Smith) and is on SiriusXM, we’re guessing Harbinger is pretty good at what he does now.

Unfortunately, he’s also an example of the horde of lawyers who went to law school because they had nothing better to do.

Why do we single him out?

He is one of Business Insider’s 10 Faces Behind The Incredible Law School Underemployment Crisis.

Harbinger had applied to law school on a whim, and ended up attending University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, one of the nation’s top law schools.

“I didn’t know that there were law school rankings,” he says. “Everyone is obsessed with these things. I found these after I got into Michigan. I had no idea. I figured Harvard law was top dog or something, but I thought who cares, what’s the big deal?”

Is there anything more annoying than someone who aimlessly traipses into one of the top programs?  That’s not exactly the singlemindedness of purpose we’d like to see in motivated BigLaw associates, is it?

He was laid off within a year.  Unfortunately, he was laid off from Thacher Proffitt, so it doesn’t say much about his own personal abilities; they laid off everyone in a futile effort to stay afloat.  He summered at Linklaters, which also had massive layoffs but at least they survived.  So he either chose the wrong firm or got no-offered.  Fellow profilee Larry Hardcastle also had bad luck – he summered at Drinker Biddle, but they too didn’t take on many of their summers in 2009.

Many others express the platitudes or fallacies so prevalent in the “should I go to law school?” discussion.  For example, this gem from an ESPN producer:

Still, Deskalo says he is glad he went to law school, which he says taught him how to think differently about situations and also helped him hone his skills as a journalist.

The old “learn how to think” gem.  Sigh.

At least some of the others are more sympathetic, including a woman living at poverty level while trying to build a healthcare practice.

If nothing else, it’s an interesting cross-section of recent law school grads.  But at the end of it all, we just come away exasperated at how little planning went into some of these folks’ decisions.

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