Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with one of the stars of Chocolate Ghost House, the group responsible for the sensational YouTube parody “Law School” (sung to the tune of Maroon 5’s “Payphone”). Andrew Loud refers to himself as “the other guy in the video who raps,” but this rapper does more than that. Loud is a second year law student at West Virginia University School of Law and is on track to graduate in 2014. He also wrote the lyrics to “Law School,” partnering with his friend Tyler Murray to bring the lyrics to life.
Many of the lyrics written by Loud mimic points and issues outlined in my book Barrister on a Budget (releasing Summer 2013). I decided to chat with Loud about his inspiration to write the song and further investigate his perspective on the shape of the legal industry for new law graduates.
Q: What motivated you to write and make this video?
A: I’ve always enjoyed making parody songs, and when I found out about a law school music video contest through Above the Law, that was all the motivation I needed.
Q: One line of your video says you’re “drowning in debt.” Is the amount of debt you took on surprising or did you know what your financial obligations might entail before enrolling in law school?
A: I may have taken some liberties with the lyrics as they do not all apply to me personally. I knew that some level of student loans would be necessary, but WVU is comparatively cheap as far as law schools go. I have a scholarship that covers most of my expenses, but I know that many students from my school and others constantly feel the financial pressure of law school.
Q: What advice would you give a pre-law student about the financial obligations required of law students?
A: Do what you can to make yourself a worthy scholarship candidate. Prepare well for the LSAT, as an exceptional score can erase other blemishes on your resume. There are a lot of [scholarships] out there, and if you are willing to put in the work, whether before school or during school, it can go a long way.
Q: Another line of your video says, “all of my job prospects are looking blue.” As only 56% of the Class of 2012 were able to find full-time, permanent employment requiring bar passage, is that something you and your other classmates are worried about?
A: West Virginia is a somewhat insulated job market, especially considering we are the only law school in the state. Our job placement rate is much, much higher than the national average. While some students may worry about this a little, I don’t think there is a prevailing sense of dread over the student body about our job prospects. This was another generalization meant to apply to all law schools; I know it can get pretty bad in some places.
Q: Did you know about the state of the legal job market when you applied to law school?
A: Yes, and I think that is something that most prospective law students should follow. Depending on where you are in the country, you may need to compete to secure your place in the workforce.
Q: Your song also says that you “don’t have a degree to fall back onto” while holding up a mock diploma for liberal arts. Are you finding that your friends/colleagues that received bachelor degrees in liberal arts are having the same difficulty in their job search as those who pursued an advanced degree or do you think the law school degree still gives students an upper hand in this economy?
A: I have a lot of friends with bachelor’s degrees in less than practical subjects who have found the job market to be tough going. Many of them have jobs, but not in their area of study, and not with the earning potential they had hoped for. [T]here are still many opportunities [with a law degree] if you’re willing to go to them and earning potential is much greater.
Q: Many are asking whether law school is still worth the investment. What is your opinion?
A: Law school may not be the guaranteed path to upper class that it once was, but it is still a solid investment.
Loud’s music video has recently been selected as a finalist for the Above the Law’s Law Revue Competition. The winner is decided by popular vote, so please check out the video and vote here! Voting ends at 11:59pm May 1, 2013. To check out Loud’s other (non-legal) videos and music, visit his YouTube Channel! Barrister on a Budget Blog posts every Wednesday!