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!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Great Expectations: Law School, Lawyering and Martyrdom

"Books about law are notorious for being very long, very dull, and very difficult to read. This is one reason many lawyers make heaps of money. The money is an incentive - the word 'incentive' here means 'an offered reward to persuade you to do something you don't want to do' - to read long, dull, and difficult books." ~ Lemony Snicket

So for the few of you regular readers, you may have noticed there's been a recent spat between some of the "scamblog" community.  This isn't the first time it's happened and I'm sure it's not the last either.  Some people have never been comfortable with the "scamblog" moniker, even when they were doing it, and I understand their apprehension.  I'm of the opinion if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then your mother's a wait that's not how it goes, oh fuck it close enough.

One of the favorite counter arguments in favor of the Higher Educational Complex is really just a simplified "caveat emptor."  You should have known better.  Or as one other blogger has put it
"The simple truth of the matter is that only some law school graduates are actually fit to practice, and only some law school graduates will ever have the opportunity to make a legal career for themselves.  This is nothing new.  It has always been the case that not everyone who goes to law school becomes a lawyer--and it's also the origin of the myth that the Juris Doctor degree is versatile and will open the door to any number of wonderful non-legal opportunities."

It shouldn't have taken a bunch of post-grads screaming in the electronic wilderness to make the possibility of failure a potential outcome in the mind of any prospective student.  Any objective look at the data actually available can see that the experience, career, and life presented by the Law School Scam is total bullshit.  The problem is that such information wasn't really available to any prospective student.  US News wrote fluff pieces on success stories, which I have covered on this blog.  The schools themselves have put out videos, brochures, etc. which I have covered here as well.  

Everywhere a Millenial turned, they were told that graduate school of any kind, especially the law, was a fantastic investment in your future and the key to a "good life" which I have also covered here (BTW, I really only ever care about readers who are under 35 because 1) they don't know any better 2) they don't have any other experience in a string of failed or unfulfilling careers yet to compare the law with and 3) they're the real target audience and walking debt slaves in the system).  I myself was one of these fools, but as the saying goes fool me once shame on you.

The following is from the book I've quoted from before that is about a hundred years old, it gives a prospective lawyer the following expectation about the profession many years ago:

"A young man being admitted to the bar, hired an office, purchased a few books, if he had the money, placed upon the outer wall of the building in which he was located a gilt and black sign, the size of which depending somewhat upon his means, upon which was his name and the words 'Attorney at Law'...Having accomplished all this he quietly sat down to wait for clients.  Clients in those days came down town, or from more remote districts, in search of a lawyer. They did not look for anybody in particular but they strolled along the street until some name or sign commended itself to their imagination, when they would enter the office and, if suited with appearances there, would unfold their business."


"Commercialism has entered somewhat into the profession of law.  Clients are no longer simply seeking a lawyer. They are choosing counsel in whom they have some personal interest; whose success at the bar has attracted favorable notice, or to whom they may have been recommended by business associates or friends.  The wearisome waiting of former years have passed away.  The lawyer of to-day prefers to be employed, even if some one else reaps the greater benefit from his labors, rather than to become rusty in a weary waiting for clients."

Well, I would hazard to guess that we're heading back to the former rather than the latter as a model of legal employment.  Historically, very very very few lawyers ever earned a living at law alone.  The vast majority of American legal history has required that lawyers do some other, actual work to earn a living wage.  Now, unfortunately, like the author of this dusty old book I too honestly believe the following:

"The law is a noble profession.  It calls for honesty, patience, industry and ability. Upon its honest and efficient administration depends the safety of the person, the preservation of property rights and the general political and civil welfare of the community.  It is fitting that those who enter upon the practice of such a profession should do so with an adequate comprehension of the duties and obligations which they thereby assume, realizing that it is something more, something higher, than a mere money-making business."

I was the biggest sap of all because I believed that you could actually live up to this ideal in the legal profession of today.  However, from my own experience as well as the friends and classmates I have in the non-profit world, legal services, and various other bullshit "help people" jobs, I really found out that I could do far more to help people outside of the law than in the profession.  In fact, I found out from my personal experience that the education of a lawyer in itself is something that I not only found to be an unprosecuted crime immoral but causing harm to its participants via fraud and other practices.  Now if I were to say this as a mere outsider, I know the typical law school and legal profession cheerleader would make the "you don't know what you're talking about" argument.

For a number of different complex socio-psychological reasons that you don't care about, having a "law grad" make the same argument--that a legal career is a money losing venture for those who undertake it--lends both credibility & authority in a way that has a chance to impact both the small, narrow minds of a Zero Lemming and the broader society.  Only time will tell whether this remains to be the case, and I think that the scamblogging community has done a valuable service to prospective law students who went blindly off the cliff.  At best though, I think we can only act as a sign that says "Warning! Cliff ahead!" but the walking still relies on the individual student.  As long as the schools can make shit tons of money off of the practice, then nothing will change because I know the individual is the worst at self-regulation (basically the same argument from the original Day the Earth Stood Still when it came to preventing nuclear war-- that humans are incapable of truly acting rational and should be governed by traffic lights alien machines).

And honestly, if you go into law for my or any of the other shitty reasons people give for going then you get what you deserve (scroll to the bad reasons section of that website for some enlightening fun---I also consider that blog the first real "scam" blog back before there was a name for it).  You should have saved yourself the time by filling you ass crack with organic honey, going into the woods where bears are coming out of hibernation and get ready for the ass raping you knew you had coming.

Of course any assclown that goes to law school today thinks that they will have the opportunity to become lawyers and earn a living wage.  Before the scamblogging movement, there was only one side of the argument being made in the popular opinion--the scammer's side.  These types of blogs were intended to fulfill one simple act repeated ad infinitum, to say that the Emperor has no clothes.

I harbor absolutely no ill will to bloggers like Ms. Kimber Russell at SMS or Ms. Elie Mystal at ATL or Ms. Zenovia Evans, or the many others that have or will come and go, for trying to make something out of the nothings that they became by going to law school.  I can understand the urge and the appeal of doing so.  Would anyone have ever thought of Ms. Mystal as that genius  from Harvard on subjects like IRS policy or First Amendment rights?  Fuck no never Probably not.  But as Elie Mystal the law blogger in a field of dinosaurs who aren't the most tech savy, then Mystal can "be somebody" (also known as the big fish small pond strategy).  That's a very powerful driver.

Who wouldn't want to hit the top of Maslow's pyramid if they have the choice?  

Well probably a philosopher, but we all know the majority of those kids either didn't go to law school, did really well and make boatloads, or knew better than to even try in the first place.  Trying to capitalize off of everything is as American as apple pie (and some might argue is the same modus operandi that led to the Law School Scam being created in the first place but that's neither here nor there).  I also think that selling out is completely natural (just look at the career trajectory of the good Standup Comic who makes it big, i.e. Eddie Murphy when he did Raw versus the Eddie Murphy who made Pluto Nash).  The rarity are those who don't sell out.  Then again, it's easy not to sell out when you don't have either the choice or the luxury.  So that's why I don't really care about other people's choices in this respect, it's their choice they can deal with the consequences--for better or worse.

Halfway through law school When I first left law school, I was pissed that I allowed myself to fall into such a trap.  I knew that I could get out of it eventually and that I was one of the lucky few who could be assured of that ability.  However, many of my classmates weren't so lucky and that's the sole reason why I started blogging in the first place--to warn people hey maybe you should double check that before you double down (that and a combination of vanity and boredom).  I've actually been far more successful in having conversations with prospective law students in real life than I have been as a blogger, incidentally it's far more rewarding for me on a personal and professional level.

Going into my personal story, on any level, as many other scambloggers have done is just begging for attention and satisfies a sense of victimhood/martyrdom on some level (like assholes who update statuses on facebook with every little fucking thing that happens--oh my god I can't believe they messed up your order at Arby's you poor thing--choke on a camel's dick).  Who gives a shit?  I don't need pity.  I wanted justice (and the scamblogs were a very small start at that).  

I am and will ever be of the firm and lasting belief that Higher Education, as it exists today regardless of the degree awarded but especially in the law, constitutes a crime against those it purports to serve.  It's a form of human sacrifice of the young to the old perpetuated with magical thinking and cultural myths.  Fortunately, this kind of shit can't last forever--as the Middle East is proving right now and countless other historical events do the same.  The question will be how bad is the damage.  For those under 35, I think it that time will show the damage to be severe...when it didn't have to be.

People can argue about tactics or approach all they want, but nothing changes that simple fact.  And that's what's the most important.  It's still happening every day and nothing you do on a blog or in life can really change it.

Till Next Time!!! Life's not easy!!! Life's not fair!!! When the chips are down, help yourself to hell with the rest!!! What you gonna do when the chips are down???!!!