"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).
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
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
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
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
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,
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,
*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."