May 31, 2013

Why does everyone want to go to Law School? Ctd

OK, so in the Huffington Post I explored how pretty much everyone goes to law school or is encouraged to go to law school. Pretty messed up. I explored this under the title of 'Law School: the Default Career Choice'.

The post stirred up some action and got a few response from some big names.

Including Above the Law:

Lee Pacchia of Bloomberg Law:

And then also Ambitious Minds, a career advice agency based in England:

Then finally, Belfast based lawyer Gary Thompson:

I then took the debate over to the League of Ordinary Gentlemen and asked in the eponymous post: 'Why does everyone want to go to Law School?' And don't think this is a strange question. Because it clearly isn't. Look at how Tucker Max put it in the Huntington Post here:
"At some point in their life, everyone thinks they should go to law school. You may in fact think you want to go to law school now."
Anyway my essay 'Why does everyone want to go to Law School' got a mention on Above the Law in their daily roundup, available here. Legal Cheek also gave mention to the essay in it's roundup of the day's events, available here. I also got a response on the League from the writer who goes by the pseudonym New Dealer, and you can read that here. (Also there's a similarly entitled post on which doesn't actually answer the question, but looks into the good and bad reasons for choosing to study law. Read that here.)

Then a fascinatingly appropriate news story came out from Above the Law about how favorably society still regards Law School. The title laid it out pretty clear: 'About Two-Thirds of Parents Want Their Kids to Be Lawyers (Relatedly, About Two-Thirds of Parents Don’t Read the News)'

My response: "wtf!? Is it really that bad!?" Any way here's some of the responses to the news.

Above the Law found the news "just plain depressing". If you don't already know, here's why [emphases are mine]:
"Ignoring all the warnings that have been trumpeted from Above the Law to the New York Times, heedless of the spate of lawsuits that have been filed against law schools over their allegedly deceptive employment statistics, and paying no mind to the horror stories about young lawyers drowning in student loan debt, 64 percent of parents still “hope their children will grow up to pursue legal careers.”"
Larry Bodine from loved the news. Larry's response pretty backs up my thinking on why 'everyone wants to be a lawyer' - namely, because it's respected and fabled.
“Being a lawyer means being a respected professional, and that’s something that parents want for their children,” said Larry Bodine, Esq., editor-in-chief of “Despite the tough economy facing the next generation, it’s exciting to note that nearly two-thirds of parents would be happy with a law degree in their child’s future.”
Roll pretty well with this. What I call the very vague notion, slash myth, that Law School is the place to be. The default career choice.

Break down the research a little further and you find things quickly get worse if you take the stance on Law School that I and Above the Law do. Staci Zaretsky from Above the Law teased it out. Here she is [emphases are mine]:
"The next bit of information gleaned from the survey revealed that perhaps this is a class problem. Eighty percent of parents making less than $25,000 want to push their kids into law school. Apparently information about the drastic changes in the legal profession wasn’t enough to stop low-income survey respondents from aspiring to hopes of grandeur for their children. On the other side of the coin, only 54 percent of parents making at least $75,000 want their children to grow up to be lawyers."
A little more and emphases are mine:
"What this means is that while the information is out there, it’s not getting to the people who need it the most. Of course you hope that your children will be better off than you are, but no amount of bootstrap-pulling is going to make this profession better for your offspring. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the recession-reactionary changes in the legal sector will likely be permanent. Being a lawyer these days is a tough row to hoe, and if you’re hoping your children will be able to have a “rags to riches” story in the law, you should probably start fixating on another dream career for them. 
Parents, you better pray your special little snowflakes do well in math and science classes. For what it’s worth, there’s really no such thing as unemployed doctors, but unemployed lawyers are plentiful."
Finally, another reason why Law School is also messed up: because it doesn't actually teach you any doing skills. Just irrelevant theory.

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