This blog is about living the American Dream at the dawn of the new millennium! I am a nameless, mid-20s, bottom 150 Law School Graduate who finds himself marginally attached and awash in a sea of overeducated but underpaid, indentured peers who feel, and were, duped by the promise of a better life through debt and modern chemistry. Let's get to the point. The Law School Industrial Complex is a scam that has destroyed a generation out of greed. Vendettas were once legal and the pursuit of one was seen not only as moral, but necessary. This newly minted lawyer is going to continue the practice. DON'T GO TO LAW SCHOOL YOU MORONS! Ce qui suit est ce qui reste!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Law School Apology FAIL & Double Dog Dare

"We need to be bold and adventurous in our thinking in order to survive." — Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, aka Wild Bill, in Adler v. Board of Education of City of New York, 342 U.S. 511 (1952).

This post was originally going to be a kind of "Apology for Law Schools" (I use apology in the classic Greek sense meaning a defense, shout out to PoliSci majors --- Remember when you had to read The Apology by Plato for the first time and asked "Why is he sorry?"...sigh).

I asked myself, "Can I actually provide a positive, uplifting argument about the nature of legal education and the practice of law?"  I immediately realized that was far too ambitious and limited myself to:

"Make an argument defending the Law School Educational Complex as it currently exists and the benefits that one receives by undertaking a law school education."

I excluded the financial/career payoff that one was supposed to get by going to law school, because then it'd be too easy (*see below).



My partners for truth fellow scambloggers, see left, are far better at that than I (so I might as well stick to what I can do or at least try to do).  I was instead going to try to craft an argument about the intrinsic value of the process.  Form follows function and so it should have been easy to determine the "function" of law schools by looking at their form/structure/process.  From that starting point, I could then provide a defense of the function & outcomes for the participants.

Over the better part of the week, I proceeded to use all of my "intelligence," "education" and "creativity" towards crafting such an argument (*see below for picture of attempt).



But I literally couldn't do it.  This horrified me, as it should horrify everyone reading this (I mean, really, I can make arguments defending people accused of incest, murder and/or pedophilia but not the LSEC?).

Thus I concluded:

The Law School Educational Complex is irredeemable and cannot be defended in its current manifestation.


(*Pictured above: one of the many instruments law schools rely on to determine success.)

Also, the administrators and professors, even those with the best of intentions, are complicit in an abominable system that has terrible consequences for participants.  At best, defending Law School is to recount the Biblical story of Job and say, "Well at least God rewarded him in the end with a new family and fortune."  To wit, I would direct reader's attention to Archibald MacLeish's J.B. which goes into more philosophical detail about the emotional truth of Job's plight compared to "the Good Book" (*Sidenote, MacLeish also thought that "The business of the law is to make sense of the confusion of what we call human life - to reduce it to order but at the same time to give it possibility, scope, even dignity" Guess what? Not really the way it's going).  

I should probably clarify a couple of things.  Namely, what I hope to achieve through this blog.  While I can't speak for my people law school beneficiaries want dead fellow scambloggers, I doubt that they would genuinely disagree with me (I say this based on what I garner from discussions with them & if they really do disagree with me then I have no doubt that they'll let me know).



Also, it's interesting to see this "Law School" story is starting to gain more and more press in mainstream avenues.  I only pray that it's in time to save, at least, some poor unfortunate souls before they get their acceptance letters and decide to go through with it.  For my take on the story click here (Incidentally, the story that Yahoo linked to is the same Wall Street Journal piece that my fellow scambloggers inspired have already covered so check out their blogs for their take on it).

I have the following goals with this blog:

Goal #1 --- To say that law schools are full of shit.  Meaning that I am calling out the outrageous misconduct on the part of all, but especially "lower ranked," law schools who charge students ridiculous/exorbitant fees for what they pass off as a "legal education."  One of the primary weapons justifications that law schools use for "buying in" is the outright lies misleading statistics about employment prospects post-graduation (so as to make it seem as if $100,000+ of non-dischargeable debt seems recoverable when it's probably not).  Also, it should be noted I didn't even really care  look at or consider the "post-graduation employment stats" in my decision to law school (so that's why I don't really get into it that much on this blog).  I take more issue with the cultural myths, half-truths, and generalizations that are made about "What the law is? What the law should be? How do we search for the answers to those questions?"  As of now Law School posits itself to the outside world as being somewhere between Plato's Academy and the Hospital Surgery Suite.  They say "We teach you theory AND practice!" when they don't even really teach you either (Incidentally, the classes I did the best in at law school were the ones where I literally did not read anything from the overpriced crap casebook. That shouldn't be possible in an "educational" environment).

As I progressed through law school then bar review then into the real world, it became clearer and clearer to me that the preceding step had nothing to do with the next (unlike almost every other human endeavor/training I can think of or have experience in).  Law school education isn't even really education intellectually rigorous.  It's a parroting game that I must admit I struggled to play because it rewards negative, close minded and unoriginal thought processes (Although I came to learn that some of my classmates were cheaters very good at it compared to me.  In fact, I may even cover this in a later post & tell Zero Lemmings how to cheat too!  hints for success).  As there are many types of intelligence, I am not making a value judgment about the kind of thinking law school encourages (because there are instances where the above described thinking is a good thing).  Rather I want to show why it's a major fucking problem make any Zero Lemmings out there aware of what to expect.



Goal #2 --- To provide 0L's, Zero Lemmings, with the kind of information that law schools would never give them.  As I have very little illusions about (1) above, I want, at the very least, to empower people considering law school with the kind of insider knowledge that is closely guarded by those in the profession.  This insider knowledge can be divided into three main areas: 

a) the nature of the legal education itself (meaning that it's 3 years of bullshit & a lot of other little changes you'll notice like not being able to read anything anymore without highlighters and pencils, really you should see some of my Maxim mags)
b) the nature of the legal profession (largely a soul crushing endeavor even for those "at the top/biglaw" who find themselves burned out/miserable relatively quickly)
c) qualitative & quantitative reportage of the real job market for aforementioned, soul crushing jobs by those who are already in the trenches (the position that many of you will find yourself in should you decide to commit seppuku go to law school).



No one who benefits from the current paradigm wants to have a genuine discussion about these problems, because they know that it would cause many people to skip going to law school (as there are a large number who make the decision out of naive ignorance).  This, in turn, would cut into the profit margins and salaries (I'm looking at you overpaid deans).  It is frustrating to many because these problems are man made and there are solutions for them (many of them relatively easy).  Which leads me to goal (3).

Goal #3 --- To advocate for legal education and professional reform.  "Oh, Bullshit!," I can hear some of you say, "A blog on the "internets" is going to push for reform?"  Well, assclown, my response would be that the internet serves the same purpose as pamphlets, and other forms of printed media, did in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Also, it's too late for me save yourselves! there's nothing inherently original about what I am saying.  It's just that I am doing it in my voice and from my unique perspective  (This same push for reform has been made by countless others for decades to no avail).  It'd be easier to just say, "Fuck it, why waste my time?"



Unfortunately, for me, I genuinely do care because I have a vision of what legal education, the legal profession and lawyers should ultimately be in relation to the society that they are supposed to serve.  To quote John Adams in a letter to his beloved Abigail,

"I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. - Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph [sic] in that Days Transaction, even altho [sic] We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not."

(In musical form, see below)



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

However, I'm not stupid enough to miss, at least some of, the logical flaws in my above conclusion about Law Schools.  If I am wrong about my opinion/conclusion/knowledge of the legal education system then, obviously, my 3 above stated goals are invalid.

Therefore, I double dog dare, Oh snap! You got served!, anyone to give me an argument defending the current paradigm.

Seriously.  For the love of God, I am begging  would someone, anyone, make a general argument defending the legal education system as it currently exists in the United States of America? 


*To see what I, along with anyone who has a working mind, would NOT consider a sound defense of the LSEC, see my previous post about the US News propaganda piece named "More Than a Degree" & my opinion of it. (see below)



I'll be waiting! Till next time, it's "Not that I don't like you, I'm just at a party."

5 comments:

  1. Well done, sir.

    Did my JD years ago at a bottom-of-the-first-tier school, as a bottom-of-the-class student. Three times to pass the bar. Did some "solo" work, which in its translation could only be described as attempted suicide, having had NO mentoring, interning, or training.

    Law school, as we all know, is a crock of shit. They teach you nothing of practice. There should be a Nuremberg Trial equivalent for these conscienceless pricks, with some notable exceptions. I still respect the Property prof I had, who, at the outset of 1L, warned us about law practice, and how he predicted many of us might end up disappointed. He was at least observant of reality. I found out the hard way why some of my compadres when I was a 1L called it quits after 1L/1st semester grades came out. They knew it was, for them, already over. Unless 1)you will be joining the family firm, or, 2)you are doing Yale-Harvard-Stanford, or, 3)you are in the highest percentile of any other tier 1 you may attend, you still will get no job, at least not a satisfactory one, even if you get interviewed. But I was fortunate. When I went to school some years back, at least I was able to get into a skilled trade. I work in the electronics field.

    My advice: find a skilled, licensed journeyman plumber who needs a dependable apprentice, and head in that direction.

    You will always have work, my son.

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  2. The apologist cockroaches cannot make a cogent argument FOR law school. Instead, they rely on ad hominem attacks and platitudes such as "You need to work hard and find an area of law to specialize in."

    I have offered to debate "law professors" and law school deans in a public setting. I have received no takers to this offer. I would even be willing to go to Cartwright Room 213 at Third Tier Drake to face my hostile crowd. No takers. Not one damn prof has had the balls to defend the industry and allege that law school is a good investment.

    So much for Harvard lawyers as "the best and brightest", huh? They know that I, and most of the other scam-bloggers would beat their asses down with the facts, lucid argument, clear examples of corruption and misinformation on the part of the industry, etc.

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  3. Well I don't know if I'd go that far. I'd wager a lot of the members of HLS are too busy getting political appointments or attending modern day Klan Rallies (HLS 3L LOL!)

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  4. Wow! That pic of Robert Downey Jr. holding a gun is amazing! As to your argument, you are flat out wrong. I am who I am because of law school.

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  5. Oh Scotty doesn't know.

    First, not to get personal but you're very old (As in AARP member old, but please don't take that as a slight or insult because there are many countries on earth where people aren't lucky enough to reach such an age).

    Second, but related to the first, this kind of information doesn't apply to someone nearing the twilight of their career and days on earth (once again not a slight as I'm sure you've managed to work some good in your life on this earth and you should be commended for it I guess). This is for young to middle aged people considering law school, those currently entrenched in it and those who have recently graduated. This is not for someone who went through the system several decades ago, as your anecdotal experience has the same relevance today as someone in Wichita, 1968 saying "Hey have you looked into buying a horse to get around town? It worked for me back when the roads were dirt!" In other words, a dodo.

    Third, if "I'm flat out wrong" please take as much time away from your hectic schedule living the dream, though if you have time to troll blogs of this nature then I'd suggest a more productive hobby, to write a real response & email it to me. I genuinely and sincerely want to read the argument. Please prove me wrong besides a single sentence (I'm pretty sure we have to go beyond "Not Guilty" in court). In fact, I promise not only to post it here in its entirety, but should the logic of your "Apology" be sound and actually convince me of my error, then I'll stop blogging.

    Fourth, that picture of Robert Downey Jr. is amazing. More amazing is that he never went to any kind of grad school, let alone law school, and is cooler, more successful and more respected than you or I could ever hope to be in ten of our lifetimes. That's saying something. Especially considering that in the mid 1990s he was arrested for driving his porsche naked down Sunset Boulevard & telling the police that he was driving erratically because he was throwing rats out of the car (rats that he imagined due to a drug binge). Still great pic!

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