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!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

US News Reports = Old Pedophile W/ Spare Time, Candy & Van

"Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper...Screw magazines too." - George Orwell...kinda

Let's get something out of the way first.  Namely, that I absolutely loathe this publication, US News and World Report, on a number of different levels (so take that bias into account while reading on). I mean hate it like Harvard Law School students hate black people (HLS 3L LOL that shit never gets old).  Like the Bible says, know your enemy.  So some contextual history may help illuminate how this rankings bullshit got so out of hand.  Incidentally, there was a recent story on the left-leaning Huffington Post about colleges starting to grow a spine about this kind of thing  but someone runs that same story every time US News puts out a rankings issue).

So you, hapless "education" consumer, probably never asked yourself why does US News go to all the trouble of helping little old me out by proving me with a Consumer Guide of sorts to higher education?  Every time a new issue comes out, which I always refused to purchase lest I support the enterprise, I often find myself lamenting "If only they could expand this service to include elementary schools! Then I could have really gotten a head start on the competition!!" (*see below for a more equitable way to decide school placement).

Well according to my research, the rankings issues really started to gain more attention, shocked expression, as a moneymaker (*Sidenote law schools won't really teach you how to really research because otherwise you can't get the privilege of paying WestLaw and Lexis even more money for "special classes and training sessions" to navigate their bullshit search engines).

I quote:

By 2001 USN&WR was looking for more ways to stay competitive in a media-drenched market. Increasing cable channels, web news outlets, and changing newspapers threatened the traditional delivery of hard news. The magazine ran more feature articles such as "The Adoption Maze," "Secrets of the Stutter," and "Alcohol and the Brain," in 2001. In addition to the change in focus, a new editor took the helm.

Don't worry US News, I think Time and Newsweek will be joining Martha the last Passenger Pigeon soon enough once the baby boomers finally get too old to read without using a Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass (Time's Person of the Year the other year was "YOU!" oh give me a fucking break and actually try would you Time).

To stay competitive, USN&WR relied heavily on its special publications, which annually ranked the nation's colleges, graduate schools, and hospitals, and placed less emphasis on its print edition and more investment in its web site. As part of this repositioning, the magazine again reduced its editorial staff in 2005, laying off nine employees, including its chief political correspondent, Roger Simon.
The rankings, however, while popular with the magazine's readers, encountered broad criticism.

Encountered broad criticism? No shit. Everyone loves lists & rankings (*see Germany circa 1930's). I mean who hasn't done some High Fidelity shit and made greatest songs and movies lists with friends?  The problem is that, like assholes, everyone has an opinion and they all stink.  Unfortunately, US News pretty much has market share over how to rank schools, especially grad school  despite the Tax Prof's best efforts using weird math number like shit.  It's a sick cycle where by encouraging more people to attend higher ed forces more to have to "research" their investment and thus buy US News copies so that somebody in an office somewhere makes money. You just happen to be the person getting screwed (*See Below for what US News would look like in human form, btw if this guy approached you like this in real'd know better, but when it shows up in a store as a "Special Issue" you're fine with it?)

If US News just did a ranking list, I guess I'd have less of a problem...but then they go and do shit like this to kill trees and justify the price of this stupid shit  provide readers with more qualitative data (as they halfheartedly admitted that job prospects for law grads are pretty much what the scambloggers and J.D.'s already out there know it).

This year, US News got someone to write a fluff piece entitled "The J.D. More than Just a Degree" by Andrew T. Hayashi....fuck here we go again...(*Sidenote, once again, I object to US News as an entity rather than the speaker who is clearly just another prop like the Fordham students were for the admissions video, this is essentially speech that's been adopted by US News).

"It's just a five-minute walk to the law school from Evans Hall, my on-campus home at the University University of California-Berkeley for two years. I came to law from economics, starting my '1L' (first) year just as I began writing my Ph.D. dissertation."

First, and yet again I don't want to get personal, but why the fuck are you living on campus while getting your Ph.D. AND J.D.?  Are you that much of an emotional cripple that the thought of living on your own in the world is too terrifying Is housing that tricky in Cali?  Also, why are you getting a Ph.D. AND a J.D.?  If the answer isn't "I'm curing cancer" or "building iron man armor and want to be able to defend myself from the countless civil suits that will follow," doubtful on either front, then you have no excuse to be getting both of those degrees in the pursuit of a regular 9 to 5 job.  Are we all going to have to stay in school till we're 30 or older to hope for a job where we can use our so-called "education"?

If your "residence" at Evans Hall has something to do with them providing you housing as part of a scholarship, Go fuck yourself.  I'm pretty sure it'd be tricky to smoke cigarettes, do drugs, and drink alcohol in large amounts, which almost every human being needs just to cope with going to law school, in a dorm room with campus security mucking about.  But I'm guessing you're probably the kind of person who doesn't do anything like that and/or fucking never rarely engages in what you spitefully refer to as "fluid exchange" with another person. But I digress.

"I liked that the law was interdisciplinary and that it would encourage me to think about research questions using a variety of methods and with a focus on public policy."

ANON! You came to law from an economics background and you have the audacity to say that law is "interdisciplinary?"  Really?  If it's so "interdisciplinary" and "expansive" in its approach and orientation, then why is it that everybody, in school and the real world, ends up hyper-specializing in one specific branch of law.  In fact, doesn't US News now make it a point to create mini-rankings based on bullshit like "Best Environmental Law' or "Best Oral Advocacy" schools?  But I got into the 3rd best Maritime Law Program in the country! STFU.

Every asshole  Zero Lemming I've ever talked to about law school lists "policy" as one of the thing that attracts them to the law.  What "policy" really means in this context is just "power and/or control over the lives of others" because I have personal demons that I'd rather not deal with right now.  Although I've met a few sincere people who go to law school with the genuine goal of helping make the world a better place, a la that commie social justice kind of shit, they are few and far between.  Usually the people that start out talking about going to law school and public policies are the last people you want making decisions affecting other people's lives.  Guess what?  The likelihood that you will ever get to effect public policy is about the same as the likelihood that you will be elected President of the United States (possible - yes, probable - no way in hell).

"I wanted to become a better and more persuasive communicator and a more adept advocate. I also figured that the return on the law degree, in terms of professional flexibility, was pretty good.

Most of my classmates at law school could barely string words together.  The few that did speak up usually looked like this guy:

Speaking well in public and being persuasive at the same time is pretty much a skill that you're either born with or not.  Sure, anyone can get better at speaking, but it's pretty impossible to teach from scratch (Brando was just Brando).  Also, the best speakers/oral communicators I know go into languages if they're socialists more scholarly or into sales somewhere (where they make mid to high six figures).  They certainly don't languish away for three years with the common law being their only companion in a system and culture that doesn't reward creativity, individuality or even human-like expression. 

"I got all of the things that I hoped for from law school, and others that I didn't expect. After three years at Berkeley Law, I had a degree, a clearer writing style, greater confidence about public speaking, the ability to read more efficiently, a head full of concepts and facts about the law, honed analytical skills, and an appreciation for the variety of arguments that can be made in the areas where the law is still evolving."

Are you serious? Isn't that list of qualities, skills and abilities shit that you should have had from 4 years getting an economics degree?  More importantly, aren't those all things that you should have pretty much already have just by being alive?   

Also, the title of this piece of shit article is "More Than a Degree" and yet you've somehow managed to mention the value of the degree itself for the second time (the first time being your perceived "payback" on getting the degree, which is horseshit for most people in the current debt to slave job market).

You know what other people are doing with their "degrees" from even higher ranked schools? Trying to sell that shit for cash to salvage something out of the horrible mistake they found out law school and a legal career had to their humanity and happiness!  By the way, you really haven't wowed me with your ability to persuasively communicate (at least in written form, but then again he's probably writing for a hapless bunch of Zero Lemmings who don't know any better).

"And although the demands of law school made it a challenge to find time to work on my dissertation (a collection of essays on what might be called behavioral law and economics), the intellectual environment I found there provided a creative spark for my research that helped move it along. All of these were things that I had bargained for, things that any good law school should provide, and much of what made such a costly investment worthwhile. But I got more from law school than a degree and marketable skills."

Not to get personal, yet again, but where the hell did you find time to have a life?  You know the thing that makes it actually worthwhile to wake up in the morning.  Matter of fact, where did you have time to look for love, friendship, meaning or any of the other values that society has been teaching all of us to strive for since Sesame Street?  A "creative spark" for a Ph.D. dissertation from sitting through law classes?  I've got five bucks that says you couldn't fill up the required page length without throwing in a lot of bullshit and entire sections about "legal and policy recommendations" in the hopes that your dissertation committee didn't call shenanigans but were instead impressed by the gall of getting a Ph.D./J.D.  Jesus Tittyfucking Christ...I can't wait to find out what you else you got out of the J.D. degree...

"One of the most exciting things about UC–Berkeley, in particular, is the extensive engagement that students and faculty have with other world-class departments and scholars. Berkeley Law has 12 different interdisciplinary research centers, each providing a context for legal scholarship to be developed and used to inform contemporary policy debates."

Oh! You starfucking piece of shit.  Did you lift that right out of the school pamphlet or did they slip you something under the table?

"Programs at the law school's Center for Law, Business, and the Economy enabled me to engage with scholars doing cutting-edge research, talk with judges and practitioners about the practice of corporate and tax law, and develop relationships with professors, classmates, and graduate students with similar interests. This was not unique to my experience; the range of research centers reflects Berkeley Law's commitment to areas such as intellectual property, environmental law, and social justice."

Look at that kids! He just crossed the line from propaganda to outright lying.  It literally hurts me to read this.  Is this what's become of the place that was once the epicenter of counterculture, leftist revolution and fighting the system?  Now I see how Arnold Schwarzenegger got elected (Schwarzenegger shows up on spell check? Fuck me).  

Once again this kind of article has everything to do with Law Schools making themselves appeal to a greater number of people who have self-destructive tendencies varying reasons for wanting to go to Law school (just like the Fordham video).  It's all about getting more Zero Lemmings to sign on the dotted line and keep the scam going. NOT providing the reader with a realistic glimpse into law schools.   

Seriously though, how much did they pay you to write this?  Because if the price is right I'd totally switch sides and start pro-law blogging.  Or did you just write this in lieu of a professional development piece that contributes to the current literature?  Do you go to bars and use "I just had a piece published in US News and World Report"?

"Berkeley Law also provides extensive course offerings in a variety of fields, which is something that I was grateful for, especially as I began looking for a summer internship during my second year. I was able to take three tax classes before even beginning my internship and five tax classes before I graduated. Being able to take so many classes in a particular area allowed me to figure out what kind of law I wanted to practice and demonstrate my interest in the field to potential employers. It also helped ease the transition into practice."

Now you're not even trying, you shameless whore.  Just say you went to law school because you thought it'd lead to a job compared to where you were as an "economics" major.  That's how so many people get caught in this law school trap in the first place (I'm looking at you polisci majors).  Also, all of the options available at this marvelous, magical Berkeley and you consciously chose to take as many tax classes as possible?  What the hell is wrong with you?

"Lessons learned. In addition to providing these benefits, Berkeley Law surprised me. I had been unaware that law school is also vocational training for a profession and that this requires more than just the rehearsal of marketable skills and knowledge about the law. Lawyers have codes of professional conduct and duties that go well beyond the four corners of the job. I found this aspect both challenging and inspiring. I also developed a greater appreciation for the importance of process and procedure."

No asshole, no.  Law school is NOT vocational training for a profession (Santa Claus is a myth too kids, sorry).  If it was, then why are there bar exams and CLEs?  Just to double check? If that was true, why is it so important to get hired by a firm, big or small, where you really learn how to practice law?  Why does the NALP call us the "Lost Generation?"

Plumbing school is what I'd imagine provides vocational training for a profession.  A profession where there is actually a demand for jobs that actually pays money for people who don't mind working with their hands and being able to say they helped do something by the end of a day's work.

While we're on it, where the fuck is that code of professional conduct when it matters, like oh par example, publishing real stats about your school and not robbing your students blind with overinflated prices for a crappy product?  Where is your sense of duty knowing what this article might do to impressionable Zero Lemmings?  Do you even care?

"Lawyers complete forms, file motions and briefs, and draft contracts because that is the way that things get done. I learned that you can't be a good lawyer without mastering procedure. At Berkeley, I had excellent professors in professional responsibility, civil procedure, and tax law to help me learn these lessons."

I hate you US News.... I have to stop typing for a second just so I can put every fiber of my being towards hating you.......give me a moment......

If you even tried to practice the law based solely on what you learned in law school, you would commit malpractice in about 10 minutes (if for no other reason that you have no fucking idea very little idea how to procedurally do anything to a court's satisfaction from just law school classes).  You and I both know that the lack of real "vocational training" has been one of the longest running laments about law school for decades.  You didn't learn shit in your professional responsibility, civpro and tax law classesLiar, liar pants on fire.

"I am now a tax lawyer at a large New York firm, serving mainly corporate clients and financial institutions. I have exceptional colleagues, and the work is complex and fun. It requires analytic ability, creativity and judgment to operate in new and developing areas of the law, and the ability to efficiently manage process and procedure. Trying to excel in these areas while also living up to the expectations of being a legal professional is a challenge. But Berkeley Law prepared me well, and I have no regrets."

Touché monsieur!  I don't even have the fucking words to adequately dispel this level of bullshit.  On it's own? Congratulations you earned it. 

BUT this article slipped into the US News Rankings issue encourages the kind of magical thinking on the part of Zero Lemmings that created the current environment (especially when the preceding article warns that the story described in "More Than a Degree" won't likely be your experience and the pay off may not be certain).  It's the legal industry equivalent of saying that everyone who joins the National Guard will have a chance of winning the Medal of Honor (btw there hasn't been someone alive to receive that medal since Vietnam for good reason, if you want typical army service see here all of my military friends are pretty much broke, homeless and forgotten by their country when it matters struggling worse than me).  

Bravo sir!  You actually overwhelmed me with horseshit of a magnitude and scope that I wouldn't think possible in today's world.  I salute you!

Keep on truckin' till next time. *Gold star for California Law Grads who have any thoughts, post in comments or email me.


  1. What shocked (and then depressed) me after graduation was how poorly prepared I was. I had never seen the inside of a court room; no idea how to speak to or deal with clients, judges or other lawyers; didn't know how or where to file a complaint, etc.

    In the end, it didn't matter. I didn't pass that torture ritual also known as the Bar Exam.

  2. Lemmings are delusional. They suffer from the advanced stages of "I am exceptional" mental disease. Apparently, those former Biglaw associates working doc review are somehow morally or mentally deficient.

    And former law review editorial board members and T14 grads who are unemployed are "lazy" or suffer from bad body odor. Something is repelling employers away. It couldn't POSSIBLY be that there are too many lawyers and too many third-rate, piece of trash law schools out there, COULD IT?!?!

    Oh, well. Keep up the fight. Lemmings end up taking the plunge, and most splash into the toilet.

  3. This is one of the best blogs I've read. Some Baby Boomers saw this coming, but only after law school. It will be your generation and the one after (assuming Korea doesn't blow)to clean up the mess.