Inside the Law School Scam
August 12, 2011 12:59 PM   Subscribe

An anonymous, tenured, mid-career faculty member at a Tier One law school shares his/her observations on the state of contemporary American legal education.
posted by joe lisboa (82 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
If there's one group of people who deserve a monument today, it is surely all of the unemployed law grads whose dreams of fancy cars and high-living will never come to fruition.
posted by Renoroc at 1:04 PM on August 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Or you could, I dunno, read the link. But a monument would be lovely, thanks.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:05 PM on August 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


I would venture to say that what the law professor said is true not only of law graduates, but of graduates in pretty much every discipline. Mourn for those whose dreams never came to fruition, for they are legion.
posted by LN at 1:05 PM on August 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


For the good of the nation, law firms should be legally required to hold a Take-Your-"I dunno, law school, I guess"-To-Work-Day.
posted by griphus at 1:08 PM on August 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


I read the link. I was unmoved.
posted by Renoroc at 1:08 PM on August 12, 2011


I read the link. I was unmoved.

I found his observations on pedagogy especially interesting. The (to-me) interesting bits are some of the early posts, towards the bottom of the blog. I would not dismiss the blog as primarily a plea for pity.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:10 PM on August 12, 2011


A friend of mine just graduated from law school this past May. This guy was on law review, and in the upper rankings of his class - nobody wants to give him a shot at anything here in NYC. Before getting his JD, he was a software developer. He circulated his old pre-law school resume, and said he got 8 emails, and 6 voicemails from recruiters for software development jobs.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 1:12 PM on August 12, 2011


If they can't find a job they can always run for Congress and Santorum the rest of us.
posted by any major dude at 1:18 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Related New York Times article.

For the good of the nation, law firms should be legally required to hold a Take-Your-"I dunno, law school, I guess"-To-Work-Day.

Point taken, but there are more people who are still actually willing to do the drudgery of legal practice than there are paying positions.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:23 PM on August 12, 2011


IAALStudent.

There are, mainly, two problems with law school. First is the incredible divide between the haves and the have-nots. If you go to a top school – let's say generously the top 25, but realistically it's really more like the "T14," if that – even in this economy you have a reasonable chance at one of the real high paying jobs out there if that's what you want. And if you're not interested or can't get one of those jobs, you have a good shot at public interest work and likely will qualify for good loan repayment assistance. But if you don't go to one of these schools, you get squeezed at both ends – little to no chance of making six figures and little to no safety net if you go into a lower paying field. Plus you're that much less likely to find work at all, these days.

The second problem is it's absurdly expensive at practically all schools. It's not a crying shame that law graduates can't get rich, but it is pretty undesirable that they're graduating owing $1,000+ a month and can't even find jobs.

However, I will say that there is basically no excuse to go to law school today ignorant of the realities of it. There's no way to avoid all the bad press if you have googled anything with the words "law school" in it.

The prof's other observations about pedagogy and law school teaching are pretty dead on I think. Much of what those massive tuition hikes are paying for are professors' huge salaries, while little of what the professors do really adds value to the student experience. (And I like law school.)
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 1:25 PM on August 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


I don't regret my decision to choose software development instead of law -- I make only very slightly less money, grad school was free, and I have a vastly less stressful lifestyle. But my parents will never forgive me.

Which is kind of the point -- law has an ineffable cachet that dates back to the days when lawyers were the best and the brightest. But culture can take a long time to catch up to new realities.
posted by miyabo at 1:33 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's an Above the Law post about this that may help put things in context.
posted by naju at 1:34 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do I have this straight? A tenured law prof. write anonymously to tell us what a scam his racket is but then continues doing it because, well, because it pays good money and so he can ease
his conscience by telling us that what he and other do is terrible.
posted by Postroad at 1:41 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]



Do I have this straight? A tenured law prof. write anonymously to tell us what a scam his racket is but then continues doing it because, well, because it pays good money and so he can ease
his conscience by telling us that what he and other do is terrible.


So, he should do what instead? Is what you do for a living utterly free of moral ambivalence? At least he's taking a straight look at it.

We all struggle to live. This person should not be begrudged for not quitting his job.
posted by Roachbeard at 1:49 PM on August 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't understand why people start anonymous blogs and then agree to do interviews. It's bizarre. Elie and the kids at ATL are feverishly grinding to out this guy, which is not going to do too much for his popularity at faculty meetings (especially with his promised revelations about faculty "working from home"--ooh, sounds juicy!).

In any event, this blog seems a little derriere garde. Granted, it's the first one I've seen from within the academy, but there are so many more compelling accounts (yes, Renoroc, there are moving tales of law school desperation) and the shitty state of the legal market has been going on for years in its current crunch, that it seems merely self destructive.

From the trenches: my firm occasionally brings in about 20 contract attorneys to do doc review (basically, reading other people's emails for anywhere between 8 and 18 hours a day for, whatever the going rate is, $30 an hour and no benefits); there's a conference room on my floor where some work. A few weeks ago, I went into one of the stalls at work (not to play Angry Birds, I swear), and one of them had written, in spindly faux gothic "Harvard Law Degrees" with an arrow pointing to the toilet paper roll.

Droll, I'm sure you'll agree--but keep in mind the subtext here--a Harvard Law grad is (begrudgingly) doing doc review. Pauvre Harvard, yes, I weep for him too--but there used to be a time when it would be virtually unthinkable for a Harvard Law grad to be given the cold shoulder at a big law firm (and presumably, all the other law firms here) and being reduced to contract work.

Don't get me wrong--I don't think this is a big tragedy. Meh. But the high paying jobs used to be the province of the top 5 schools--and the fact that a Harvard guy is stuck doing doc review should cause everyone at lower-ranked schools to think that the prospects are good for their stellar, high-paying legal careers.

Kids, don't go to law school. It's a suckers game.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:01 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking as a behalf of disillusioned law school graduate. The problem with law school is that I went to law school expecting to fight for justice and instead learnt how to fight for enforceable corporate merger agreements.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:03 PM on August 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


They didn't teach you to do both?
posted by exogenous at 2:04 PM on August 12, 2011


always forgetting the / - blow.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:04 PM on August 12, 2011


My current city, Fort Wayne, Indiana, is actually on the verge of opening a new law school. The Indiana Tech School of Law.

Yes, that's right. A tiny, private college with no other graduate programs that doesn't even have regional accreditation is starting a law school.

I don't know whether to laugh, weep, gnash my teeth in rage... or apply to teach.
posted by valkyryn at 2:04 PM on August 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


To be clear, $30 an hour (or whatever it is) is a lot better than a lot of people get, but a lot of people making less don't have $150,000 or more in student loans just for grad school, with $1000+ a month in loan payments that can't be discharged in bankruptcy.

Valkryn, that's astonishing.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:08 PM on August 12, 2011


...one of them had written, in spindly faux gothic "Harvard Law Degrees" with an arrow pointing to the toilet paper roll.

Droll, I'm sure you'll agree--but keep in mind the subtext here--a Harvard Law grad is (begrudgingly) doing doc review.


How do you know it was "one of them" who wrote it, and further, how do you know that this person has a Harvard law degree? I mean, I have written "Free Republican National Convention Party Hats, Take One" on the toilet seat covers before and I am not even a registered Republican!
posted by roquetuen at 2:09 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Binghamton, Stony Brook, and St. John Fisher are all starting new law schools in New York State. It's completely insane.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:13 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Law schools make tons of money for their universities, at least for the time being.
posted by exogenous at 2:14 PM on August 12, 2011


I'm not quite sure how this all constitutes a 'scam'.

Law school graduate employment (or lack thereof) has tracked the current recession almost exactly. Should law schools have predicted the drop off in demand for fresh grads?
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:17 PM on August 12, 2011


Does the University of Phoenix have a law school yet?
posted by griphus at 2:18 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I ranted about what I'd like to do to legal education elsewhere on this site.

Many of the most expensive growths on the great lumbering beast we call legal education go to comically overgenerous faculty resources, when this money could be better spent hooking the students into more clinical and externship programs where the students would learn on the job.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:21 PM on August 12, 2011


If there's one group of people who deserve a monument today, it is surely all of the unemployed law grads whose dreams of fancy cars and high-living will never come to fruition.

Oh, piss off. Not everyone goes to school for the money, even law school. And we're talking about people's lives here, which some might consider to be now ruined.
posted by JHarris at 2:21 PM on August 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ah, I see. This all seems more down the line of Tulip Mania than bait and switch.

I'm still not sure it's a scam, but I can see where the disillusioned would want someone to blame.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:23 PM on August 12, 2011


I'm not quite sure how this all constitutes a 'scam'.

Law schools are, across the board, wildly misrepresenting the employment rates of their students, skewing the statistics in underhanded ways, keeping tuition at stratospheric levels, and doing whatever it takes for prospective students to fall hook, line and sinker for promises of biglaw riches in a time when entire classes are going jobless or competing for unpaid internships. Meanwhile, the law school business is doing great. New campuses are being built, law professors are getting paid more than ever, and law schools are becoming the reliable cashcows for entire universities. It seems like a scam to me.
posted by naju at 2:27 PM on August 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


If medical schools turned out physicians the way law schools turn out lawyers there would not be enough lawyers to handle the number of legitimate malpractice claims. It is really quite simple--there are way to many lawyers, it is an incredibly competitive field, tort reform in many states is having a significant effect on litigation, mentoring/internship/residency programs are virtually nonexistent, there are no requirements for professional supervision following graduation, specialization is practically nonexistent, and law schools fill class rooms based on the schools needs not the needs of the profession. While I am not a lawyer I recently spent 8 years actively involved in the review of lawyers professional practices. An excellent attorney is a precious commodity but there are way to many mediocre attorneys who are desperate to make a decent living. They do a mediocre job, with vulnerable clients in what are very often very complex situations and they do not earn enough to have adequate business and administrative support in a field where details are important.
posted by rmhsinc at 2:28 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


A question: leaving aside the top 20 schools and the six figures and the partnership track, is it a reasonable career path for the unambitious to go to Podunk U law school and then (assuming it's at least accredited and you study at least hard enough to pass the bar) write wills and defend DUIs in Podunk? Would it be better than A/C repair or driving a beer truck? Better than flipping burgers?
posted by jfuller at 2:30 PM on August 12, 2011


Law schools are, across the board, wildly misrepresenting the employment rates of their students, skewing the statistics in underhanded ways, keeping tuition at stratospheric levels, and doing whatever it takes for prospective students to fall hook, line and sinker for promises of biglaw riches in a time when entire classes are going jobless or competing for unpaid internships.

Sigh. This is like health warnings on cigarette packages. Yes, we should have them. At the same time, I am yet to meet - in my lifetime, and I've been alive for over 40 years - anyone, smoker or not, who was not aware of the dangers of smoking. In the 50's? Granted. I'll even push it to the 60's for extreme cases. All right, 70's for those whose domiciles were under rocks. But since the 80's? That's some 30 years now.

Is there anybody out there - anywhere in the U.S. - who doesn't understand the realities of the job market for freshly minted lawyers, especially the ones from minor schools and no connections? Why oh why, would you pay exorbitant sums of money and saddle yourself with huge debt so you can collect a piece of paper from the uni of bumfuck?

I suspect it's not about earning prospects, but about bragging rights. "I'm a lawyer!".
posted by VikingSword at 2:37 PM on August 12, 2011


I'm still not sure it's a scam, but I can see where the disillusioned would want someone to blame.

As has been noted above, the schools are routinely cooking the employment numbers--either hiring unemployed law grads for temp jobs stuffing envelopes and calling them "employed" for that period, counting every barista with a JD as "employed," not counting people who don't respond to the employment questionnaires, etc. It's pretty sketchy.

I 100% agree--people who enrolled in law school after 2008 should have been on notice that this industry is going south, and are largely to blame for their own poor decisions. However, to the extent that someone says, "Hey! The legal market is shitty--do your grads have jobs?" and get the response, "Of course! We have 98% employment [cough, assuming you count panhandling and selling plasma as "jobs", cough)!"--then people are being scammed.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:37 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


So what's the argument for the demand being secularly lower vs history? Or is purely an issue of excess supply? Why isn't this just the economy sucking?
posted by JPD at 2:39 PM on August 12, 2011


@jfuller--the answer is no--it is not for the unambitious and wills and DUI's have much more significance/consequences in the lives of people than the cost/repair of their A/C or whether there is beer at the corner store.besides you can not make a decent living doing DUI's and uncomplicated estate planning. Do you want a disinterested engineer designing your building, a podunk trained nurse handling your loved ones dialysis or a GP handling your child's compound fracture. It is a a profession and should be entered and practiced as a demanding profession.
posted by rmhsinc at 2:43 PM on August 12, 2011


A question: leaving aside the top 20 schools and the six figures and the partnership track, is it a reasonable career path for the unambitious to go to Podunk U law school and then (assuming it's at least accredited and you study at least hard enough to pass the bar) write wills and defend DUIs in Podunk? Would it be better than A/C repair or driving a beer truck? Better than flipping burgers?

Maybe. If you search some of the other threads on here, Valkryn or Jedicus (I think) posted the earnings chart--and I think the average is somewhere in the $40-50K per year. But that figure includes seasoned DUI and probate attorneys in Podunk, and new lawyers might make, maybe in the low five figures for their first few years as a solo. Add the cost of research, an office, malpractice insurance, health insurance, a few nice suits to wear to court, etc.--to say nothing of food, rent, and loan payments--and you're looking pretty skint.

I am not sure that it's worth anyone's time to pay for and attend three years of school that DO NOT actually teach you how to be a lawyer, just for the opportunity of eventually maybe making $50,000 a year if you're lucky.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:45 PM on August 12, 2011


What about computers taking over for some aspects of lawyers? I've been hearing 3rd hand about automated discovery programs and such. How much can be programmed and how much worse will the field get when that happens?
posted by Chekhovian at 2:47 PM on August 12, 2011


Don't get me wrong--I don't think this is a big tragedy. Meh. But the high paying jobs used to be the province of the top 5 schools--and the fact that a Harvard guy is stuck doing doc review should cause everyone at lower-ranked schools to think that the prospects are good for their stellar, high-paying legal careers.

Kids, don't go to law school. It's a suckers game.

True. The only tragedy is that that guy is probably $250k in debt and will never be a fully productive member of society as long as he lives. One mistake in his early 20's decimated his lifetime earning potential, because student loans don't go away. Ever.

If half the unemployed law grads could turn around and go to plumber school or nightschool for a nursing degree, or hell, start a cupcake truck, society would be better off having them spend that money in the economy rather than throw away 35% of thier incomes to a Federally protected racketeering scheme for the next 35 years.

Start a business that fails, well, file bankruptcy and try again. Go to the wrong grad school, well, sure fucked up your life didn't you?
posted by T.D. Strange at 2:47 PM on August 12, 2011 [15 favorites]


naju: Law schools are, across the board, wildly misrepresenting . . .

I think it largely has to do with gaming the USNWR rankings.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why those rankings have so much pull, but they do, and schools routinely game their employment statistics to move up those rankings.

And that's the real comical thing about the rankings; Harvard, Yale, Columbia, U of M, Georgetown . . . the schools that dominate the top of the rankings are practically cemented there. Collectively, these schools have implemented the gentleman's B, stopped offering grades altogether, and openly announced that they're retroactively inflating graduates' grades in order to keep up with that awful grade inflation at those other schools. And yet they still haven't budged from the top of the rankings.

What makes one school better than the other in the rankings? All sorts of absurd statistics; average expenditure per student, square footage of the library, etc. What makes a school like Harvard actually better than a school like Cooley? The alumni network and the school's name. The education at an ABA-accredited law school is pretty much the same as the next; professors from the "elite" institutions teaching you the same array of laws in the same classes in the same ways they learned them.

There are far more authoritative take-downs of the law school reporting process and rankings than I can provide here. But naju's right: the whole thing is a scam.
posted by Vox Nihili at 2:50 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


leaving aside the top 20 schools and the six figures and the partnership track, is it a reasonable career path for the unambitious to go to Podunk U law school and then (assuming it's at least accredited and you study at least hard enough to pass the bar) write wills and defend DUIs in Podunk?

It's hard to tease apart the top-20 schools, but a good approximation is to look at this chart and ignore the right-hand peak. The left-hand peak is centered around $50k. This is for people who graduated in 2010 (i.e. their first full-time job). Bear in mind that some 12.4% of 2010 graduates are completely unemployed [pdf], and only 68.4% got a job that requires being a licensed attorney. A lot of the people on the left-hand peak aren't actually practicing law, and often not by choice. Also, a lot of them aren't in private practice. Only 50.9% of employed 2010 graduates are working in private practice.

Also, compare the 2010 chart to the 2009 chart. The right-hand peak fell from ~25% of reported salaries to ~18% while the left-hand peak got bigger. So it's much harder to break into the high-end now; being in the top quarter isn't good enough anymore.

Some other dismal notes from the class of 2010: 11% of employed grads were only working part-time and 27% had only a temporary job (though 9.3% of those were judicial clerkships that are likely to lead to fulltime employment). Almost a quarter (23%) were still looking for work despite being employed. For its part, NALP (the organization that collects these statistics) expects things to get worse next year.
posted by jedicus at 3:05 PM on August 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


I do believe the "best law schools" do generally produce better lawyers. They have the advantage of being extremely selective in admissions ( I'm sorry you missed two questions on the LSAT and your GPA was only a 4.0), being able to admit regardless of financial status (well endowed) and have more demanding performance/academic expectations. They also recruit and maintain a faculty whose professional reputation depends (to some extent) on the success of their graduates. And by better attorney I mean--schooled in law, used to working under pressure, completing tasks on time, intellectually adaptable, used to being critically observed and benefiting from some outstanding internship opportunities.
posted by rmhsinc at 3:08 PM on August 12, 2011


Thank you, jedicus
posted by jfuller at 3:13 PM on August 12, 2011


Amusingly, I am printing out my enrollment documents at this very moment. But I spent over a year developing my cunning plan, having previously held the view that this would be a terrible, reckless and generally doomed idea. Now I'm merely apprehensive.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:27 PM on August 12, 2011


Does this not suggest that there is less call for lawyers in America?

Is this not a good thing for American society?

Discuss.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:38 PM on August 12, 2011


Is there anybody out there - anywhere in the U.S. - who doesn't understand the realities of the job market for freshly minted lawyers, especially the ones from minor schools and no connections?

To the extent that this is true today, part of the reason is that there are so many people now pointing out these realities or calling law school a scam.
posted by grouse at 3:41 PM on August 12, 2011


As a non-lawyer I don't think the answer is as non-ambiguously yes as you seem to imply. Sure there is a lot of legal bullshit that creates a deadweight loss, but at the same time if you believe the US has entered a post industrial era where good jobs will be those that require specialized knowledge and some barrier to offshoring you have to admit some secular change in the legal industry (e-discovery in India, more automation, etc etc) is pretty fucking scary, and not a good sign for those of us who do other specialized white collar jobs.
posted by JPD at 3:49 PM on August 12, 2011


To the extent that this is true today, part of the reason is that there are so many people now pointing out these realities or calling law school a scam.

Which is a quite new phenomenon. Really only come to widespread light in the last 2 years.

When I enrolled in as late as 2005, there were no scam blogs. Law school was widely regarded as a great decision for a hisotry major who didn't want to teach highschool. Were there people back then who couldve told me that the "average salary = $108k" thing was a lie? That the ROI was far lower than advertised for all but the top few? That bimodal salary distribution was real and a real problem? Probably. But I didn't know them and they weren't easily accessible without having extensive inside contacts. It seemed pretty damned believable when the schools were all touting it as fact, all the college counselors agreed with them and told me it was a great decision and all my extended family agreed. Class of 2006 or so through 2010 were flat out sold a bill of goods.

Enrolling today, you have no excuse. It's plain as day now.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:15 PM on August 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is there anybody out there - anywhere in the U.S. - who doesn't understand the realities of the job market for freshly minted lawyers, especially the ones from minor schools and no connections? Why oh why, would you pay exorbitant sums of money and saddle yourself with huge debt so you can collect a piece of paper from the uni of bumfuck?

Yes. Yes there are. These are, significantly, the same people who don't understand that there's a difference between Harvard and a community college, or between a traditional four-year degree from a major university and an associates from an online-only, for-profit diploma mill.

I meet these people every week.
posted by valkyryn at 4:37 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"As has been noted above, the schools are routinely cooking the employment numbers--either hiring unemployed law grads for temp jobs stuffing envelopes and calling them "employed" for that period, counting every barista with a JD as "employed," not counting people who don't respond to the employment questionnaires, etc. It's pretty sketchy."

Many married women who graduate and can't find a law job decide they might as well have kids while they're not working and then re-enter the market later on. My T14 law school takes all those unemployed women and doesn't count them as unemployed since they "at home with the kids." Score one for counting homemaking as work, I guess, but it's yet another way to cook the books on employment statistics. From talking with other women lawyers, practicing and non-practicing, this is pretty common. I'd guess close to 1/5 of my class (I graduated into a recession) were "at home with the kids" while looking for work, and they were NOT counted as unemployed.

(I also don't know of a law school that tracks "left Big Law in despair after 2-5 years, will be paying loans until they're 80, but no longer wants to commit suicide" in their employment statistics. Because that's a LOT of the people I graduated with; but I guess most "freeze" their employment statistics for the class 6 to 18 months after graduation?)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:42 PM on August 12, 2011


Does this not suggest that there is less call for lawyers in America?

Is this not a good thing for American society?


No, it doesn't. It just means that there are a lot of people who can't afford legal services because the barriers to entry to the legal market, of which education is the most significant, make it impossible to charge less than $70-100 an hour (in a cheap market!) if you want to actually be able to pay rent.
posted by valkyryn at 4:43 PM on August 12, 2011


left Big Law in despair after 2-5 years, will be paying loans until they're 80

I'm sorry. I'm a lawyer, and I have a ton of sympathy for people with student debt like mine, but anyone who manages to land a job with a big firm and still has student loans five years later is Doing It Wrong.
posted by valkyryn at 4:45 PM on August 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


For the good of the nation, law firms should be legally required to hold a Take-Your-"I dunno, law school, I guess"-To-Work-Day.

Oh weird, you talked to my friends who didn't know what to do out of undergrad! One is now a barrista and the other is doing an unpaid internship this summer somewhere.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 4:55 PM on August 12, 2011


Don't worry people. From previous discussions on here, I've learned the lawyers have a plan.

They'll just keep pushing more insane patent and copyright laws. More jobs for them.

The amount of information in this world is only going to increase, so it makes sense for lawyers to see this as a new market. Every other field, from computer science to bio-informatics has realized the power and value of information. Lawyers have always realized the power of language, and now they're seeing it's relationship to information.

Going forward, more and more we're going to need to work through their interface to access any of that information. Consider it a "wrapper" or virtual-virtual proxy interface to the real information.
posted by formless at 4:57 PM on August 12, 2011


They'll just keep pushing more insane patent and copyright laws. More jobs for them.

Actually, the legal community is pretty much behind patent reform. Everybody knows its an unholy mess. A little more split on copyright reform, but there's strong support there too.
posted by valkyryn at 5:16 PM on August 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


professors from the "elite" institutions teaching you the same array of laws in the same classes in the same ways they learned them.

Not true! At the top tier schools they don't actually bother to teach you much law. ;)
posted by louie at 5:34 PM on August 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Law professors know next to nothing about the profession, with the exception of those adjuncts who came in from practice or the bench. Those people are excellent and the only ones I even remember.

If you look at the post below this one you'll see a whole post about an interview with John Roberts. I found myself to be in agreement with that guy for probably the first time ever.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:57 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


jfuller: "write wills and defend DUIs in Podunk"

You know, there is a middle ground. it's not all BigLaw and night court. I submit that it's possible to attend a good, non-Ivy, law school, and get a job in a mid-to-small market that pays well (enough) and doesn't induce suicidal ideation.

Still, I can't really quibble with the main point being made here that law school, like apparently the rest of American post-secondary education, is in a sad way. Perhaps not quite a "scam," since I think most law school administrators and faculty are not actually trying to fleece their students, but they are clearly a part of an unhealthy (and unsustainable) system.
posted by lex mercatoria at 6:21 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I know someone at a lower-ranked law school whose graduating class of 250 boasted 6 (six, SIX) employed as of two months ago.
posted by prefpara at 6:40 PM on August 12, 2011


since I think most law school administrators and faculty are not actually trying to fleece their students

I graduated class of 2009 at a very highly ranked law school, most of whose graduates do very well, but with an average debt load of over $150K at graduation. When recruiting for the class of 2012 was going on in the teeth of the late 2008 economy, one of our faculty (known for being, shall we say, outspoken) told other faculty and administrators that they should be telling recruits for the class of 2012 about the bad economy, significant economic changes going on in the profession, etc. Needless to say the message they got, despite this professor's stance, was "come on in, the water's fine!"

I don't think this means our administration was trying to fleece anyone, exactly, but they can't claim they didn't know what was going on, and they certainly weren't engaged in any frank discussions with prospective students.
posted by louie at 6:46 PM on August 12, 2011


When I started law school, the dean did the whole, "look to your left and look to your right, and one of those people will not make it." I would think nowadays, he can say "look to your left and look to your right and one of the three of you will be employed."

Meh. We should start a MeFi subsite where lawyers can go to complain about the state of the bar, and wide eyed baccalaureates can be disabused of their legal pipe dreams, and beautiful women will serve me taquitos and gin. I'm sorry, what were we talking about again?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:13 PM on August 12, 2011


I do believe the "best law schools" do generally produce better lawyers.
The key here being "generally." The problem for attorneys like me, people who busted their butts in 2nd tier schools, who work like demons at being good litigators, and who have had the chance to test their mettle against those T14 grads and bested them, is that the "generally" never translates to actually being taken seriously by graduates of those top programs. No matter how good you are or how hard you work, the most incompetent schmuck from Harvard will still get a job more easily than you will, because every one of the senior partners went to Harvard (or whichever T14 program you care to name) and they have no interest in giving anyone else a leg up.
posted by 1adam12 at 8:39 PM on August 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


I've had friends who went to awesome law schools and shitty law schools ("yeah, they can take our accreditation if they want, but they'll never take the law surf club away"). I'm in law school. I see the types of people who want to practice law.

There are DEFINITELY notable exceptions, but for the most part, law students are complete boners who are motivated by their dreams of becoming RICH!!!

So now the economy is tanking and they are wondering where all the money is.

HAHAHAHA!!!

Also, those people complaining about Yale grads always getting the law jobs even though you worked harder, are smarter and better as a lawyer...

WELCOME TO REALITY! Its the same for EVERY field!
posted by hal_c_on at 9:39 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


First is the incredible divide between the haves and the have-nots.

Then there are the people in the 35% or so but outside the top 20% who chose the school based on a scholarship that "most people keep all three years" without knowing to ask "How many people are statistically guaranteed to lose it based on your mandatory curve?" I suppose they fall into a third category, the hads.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 9:39 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


If there's one group of people who deserve a monument today, it is surely all of the unemployed law grads whose dreams of fancy cars and high-living will never come to fruition.

Oh, piss off. Not everyone goes to school for the money, even law school. And we're talking about people's lives here, which some might consider to be now ruined.


Thank you, JHarris.

I am in this situation and it is killing me. I entered a Tier One law school in 2007, right before everything went to shit. Something you might not know is that the only year of law school that functionally matters for future employment is 1L. What they definitely don't tell you (or, more accurately, what I never learned until it was too late) is that while the final exam is your only grade in a 1L classroom, it is also not tested on what was talked about in class. 1L courses are basically tested in the same way that Bar Exam Eassy Questions are tested, but the classes are all about theory, because the professors are brilliant, highly paid legal thinkers who aren't interested in just reviewing elements and other aspects of what they will be teaching.

Now, this system is good for students of a certain stripe, to be sure. For those like me, however, it can be (and was) a disaster. All of my previous academic success came from giving original perspectives and interpretations of the material presented. In other words, exactly what had been done in class all year. Doing so on the exam meant poor grades.

Which then meant no interest in summer positions. My grades took a sharp upswing after 1L, but it never mattered. The boat had left.

I was fine with not getting any Big Law offers. I had and have no interest in that lifestyle nor the type of work I'd be doing there. It is soul-draining and I don't know any of my peers who enjoy it, even with the money involved. Truth be told, by this point I'm not even particularly interested in practicing, directly. Before law school I worked in film and tv production, and want to be involved in public interest projects and campaigns in what I see as a pretty natural fit between understanding the issues and how to research and interpret them, and media relations.

It doesn't matter. Nobody else sees a law degree that way. If I'm not practicing that is a badge of failure (or in my mind it is, at least) and the JD is irrelevant to the positions I'm interested in. To the more properly legal positions, well, I haven't been employed sice getting out of law school, so there's noting there for me either.

Every day takes me further away from ever being employed in any meaningful sense, and at this point I cannot conceive of the way in which that happens. Finding a job would be like winning the lottery to me now. I am desperate and depressed and very very scared, and this degree has become an albatross rather than an accomplishment.

So no, renoroc, you don't need to pity me. But I'm not looking for fancy cars. I'm looking for work in a wasteland.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:43 PM on August 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


Mr. ah Navelgaza (that was supposed to sound like William Buckley Jr.), my daughter is considering law after she finishes her biology B.S. which is why I'm interested in your remarks. How did it happen that you got so far as to actually matriculate into a law program and not know what the 1L final was going to be like? Is it kept secret by earlier classes or 1L faculty, so as to weed out those who do not figure this out, sort of like organic chemistry in med school? Truly, your timing was very unfortunate, but that should have been apparent by the end of 1L. What drew you to continue? Repaying a $50,000 loan would at least be easier than a $150,000 loan. What caused public interest law to become less interesting, (that's what my girl would go into it for). If the JD is irrelevant to the positions you're interested in, can't you find media work, which I gather is your previous field, where a JD would give you an advantage in producing more compelling content? I am definitely not dissing you or your experiences at all. It's just that your complaints sound like something I possibly could hear in a few years and I'm curious about how you ended up there and why you seem to be stuck there. Not that it's any of my business, of course.
posted by carping demon at 1:03 AM on August 13, 2011


Carping Demon, it's the prospective public interest lawyers I worry about most, as they are guaranteed (by design) not to get a well-paying job, and almost guaranteed not to get any job at all.

First, undergrads say "I want to be a public interest lawyer" the same way kids in junior high say "I want to be a marine biologist"--it's borne of not having any idea what you actually want to do or are good at, but it sounds both responsible and exciting. And, of course, she can write about her passion for public interest work in her essay, along with accounts of how she worked at a soup kitchen and in the domestic violence support center at college--and it all seems like it makes coherent sense, and it is self-reinforcing. By the time the application is in and she is accepted somewhere (and everyone is always accepted somewhere!), she has the imprimatur of the admissions committee validating her new-found dream. She wants to do public interest work, she wrote an essay about how she wants to help people, backed up by her compelling story of how she organized Take Back the Night or something, and, since she was accepted, it must mean that this is really meant for her.

Second, the public interest people take the validation from the prior paragraph and tend to concentrate in public interest classes. So, human rights, law of international conflicts, law and gender, etc.--almost always to the exclusion of the bread and butter classes that are the foundation to private legal work (evidence, corporations, tax, secured transactions, real property transactions, etc.). There are always like-minded people in the public interest classes, so it's a bit of a feedback loop; it's like an undergraduate seminar program within a law school.

Third, public interest jobs are MORE competitive than private sector jobs. Again, MORE competitive. MORE. Why is this, where a private sector job might start at $170K, with a $10K bonus, and a public sector job starts at, what, $35K? It comes down to vast oversupply of public interest lawyers and funding that is limited in the best of times (and exceedingly scarce these days). Not only are donors giving less to fund public interest programs, the interest-bearing bank accounts that law firms are required to have (where the interest is "swept" to a feeder pro-bono fund that supports local public interest work) are paying next to nothing in this economy--interest rates are vanishingly low. There is no money. Plus, almost every big law firm has some program where first-year associates are either encouraged or required to be furloughed to work in the public sector for a few months before starting at the office--on the law firm's dime. So, there are a whole bunch of people who are flooding the legal market who have no interest in pro bono work--but are high achievers and work for absolutely no cost to the public interest organization. On their small budgets, public interest organizations typically will take a FREE private interest lawyer than a lawyer with a demonstrated interest in public law who costs money.

Fourth, public interest devotees are frequently scammed by law schools' LRAP programs, which will write off a portion of your law school loans for each year of public sector service. What is often misunderstood, however, is that these programs keep you in abject penury. Like, living in NY on $40,000 a year. What's that? This year you made $41,000 because funding for a project came through! You are living the life of Riley, and must pay your loans this year, which will cost (in all likelihood) at least $12,000. So, you made an extra $1,000 and it puts you $11,000 worse off. I have seen this several times. Don't count on LRAP!

Fifth, the market is so saturated with lawyers now that there are people who are willing to do any work. I know a number of mid-level and senior people from my firm who have been laid off and gone to public interest because it's a job. If you're a sixth-year litigator and you get canned, you are often a much better candidate for a litigation-based public interest firm than a newly minted JD. It's a bloodbath out there.

Others can speak with more personal knowledge of the trials and tribulations of the public interest lawyer. And lest you misapprehend my perspective here--I'm not a bitter public interest person. I'm a Big Law corporate shark, always have been, (likely) always will be. I got the "brass ring" (it's actually made of lead, and is radioactive, but it does have a thin layer of brass to it).

Please point your daughter to this thread, the other MeFi law school threads, Above the Law (eek!) and some of the law school scam blogs before she applies. There are much better ways to help people than being a lawyer, but few so likely to leave her miserable and penniless.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:24 AM on August 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


To echo Navelgazer's experience, but from the opposite end of the spectrum:

I entered law school in 2007 as well. Except instead of a tier 1, I went to Cooley - one of the law schools sneeringly referred to as a "third tier toilet." As a white, middle-class male with a ~3.8 GPA, 164 LSAT, and no connections, I never had any realistic expectations of getting into a tier 1 law program. I applied to several and I was wait-listed at the University of Michigan. I visited a few other programs: UW, USC, Georgetown, but I was really turned off by the pretentiousness of it all.

Cooley, on the other hand, was close to home, close to family, eschewed a lot of the pretentiousness I disliked in higher-ranked schools (no admissions essay!), and was offering me a big, fat scholarship. Plus, I had a smaller academic achievement scholarship through the state of Michigan. It's a nuts-and-bolts legal education, I was told: less theory, more practical.

I was damned near failed out as a 1L. Like Navelgazer, our only grade was our final exam. However, ours was on the material actually lectured about. I just had no idea how to study. To make matters worse, Cooley allowed exams to be taken as hand-written or via laptop. They were both graded via the same curve. I had a Mac. The exam software didn't support it. I had to hand-write my tests. I ran out of time. I had straight Cs my first term. I lost my state scholarship and almost lost my scholarship through the school.

By my 2L year, I had a new (Windows-based) laptop and had learned to study effectively. My 2L-3L GPA was about a 3.9, but my 1L grades meant no law review, no scholarly writing, no prestigious internships (which were hard to come by as a Cooley student in the first place).

I realized about halfway through law school that I didn't want to be a practicing attorney. The personal liability is too high. The job is stifling, oppressive, and mostly boring. Hours and stress are high, depression, suicide and substance abuse rates are like four times higher than the general population, and the pay is rarely very good. Unless you're in BigLaw, and even then all you have to look forward to is being worked to death by the senior partners until you burn out in a few years. Sure, you'll make $150k/year, but you'll work 80 hours a week.

I caught a lot of flak from my fellow law students who seemed incredulous that I'd not want to use my law degree to practice law. They all seemed so damned sure that they weren't going to be in that half of law grads who don't practice. Ever.

Thankfully I'm employed and doing well in a non-legal field, which is more than I can say for most of my fellow 2010 grads.

But there's a lot they don't tell you up front: how grades work, what your actual employment prospects are like, or that law school, be it Yale or Florida Coastal, doesn't actually train you to be a lawyer. That's why there's no entry level in law right now. A freshly-minted JD isn't an asset; he's a liability, and the market is flooded with lawyers with experience who aren't liabilities.
posted by Vox Nihili at 5:13 AM on August 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


carping demon, if I had a daughter and she wanted to be a lawyer, I would cry myself to sleep. If law school is free, OK. If the cost of law school is but a drop in the family cash bucket, OK. But if your daughter plans to take out loans to cover law school, SHUDDER. Shudder for her. And for god's sake, don't cosign.

LRAP is almost universally shit, though I hear good things about Harvard's.

Navelgazer is right, the wide-eyed naifs who trust the professors to tell them everything they need for the exam pad the bottom of the curve for the in-the-know sharks who were told by friends or family how to prepare correctly.

The other thing is the tracking in the legal profession is insane. I have a friend who wants to do plaintiffs' side employment discrimination work. If she took a job at a big corporate law firm (these do pretty much defense only), she would simply never be hired later as a lateral by a plaintiffs' firm. It makes no sense, but there you have it. So as the summer aged, she faced a choice: no job or take a job that means giving up her intended career. That's not a great position to be in. This is just one example. There are a lot of jobs you can't get if you've worded at Ideological Enemy Firm X, so a lack of jobs when you first graduate can mean you are severely constrained in your later practice.
posted by prefpara at 6:37 AM on August 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


LRAP is almost universally shit, though I hear good things about Harvard's.

The quality of LRAP programs rapidly declines with a school's ranking, but Harvard is not the only worthwhile one. Notably, I believe Yale's will pay back your loans regardless of what you do careerwise, so long as your income qualifies. I'm sure Stanford's is fantastic. Columbia and NYU have good ones. Chicago just instituted a new one that sounds really good, though it has always been a school that churned out private sector lawyers and academics and little else. Berkeley's is excellent. There might be a couple of stragglers I don't know about, but that is more or less the entire list of places with LRAPs that are worth writing home about.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 7:10 AM on August 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Incidentally, it's also the entire list of schools I would feel comfortable recommending to someone interested in public interest law if it meant taking out significant loans. I think you can succeed from these schools in public interest. Where people start getting in trouble is when they take out a ton of money at Fordham or Emory or lots of other good, not great schools. You have to have little to no debt to make that a winning proposition.)
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 7:14 AM on August 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, I know many, many dedicated public interest lawyers and law students and object to the characterization of it as a universal trap. However, it is very, very difficult to find a job, and not very remunerative when you do, and you have to be really, truly dedicated. I count myself among those who entered with vague public interest intentions and who is now aiming at biglaw because I lack the specific, well-articulated passion for a particular practice area that makes the risk worthwhile. The people who will be most successful aren't those who come in saying, "I want to be a lawyer to do something positive in the world." They're the ones who come in saying, "I want to be a lawyer to work on gay rights issues, or immigration, or to be a public defender, or to do direct services," and then dedicate themselves to every relevant student group, internship, and class they can find.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 7:18 AM on August 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


How did it happen that you got so far as to actually matriculate into a law program and not know what the 1L final was going to be like?

I'm not Navelgazer, but I can speculate. The main thing is that there is no rehearsal: you get the final exam and that's that. There is no homework, no midterm, no practice exam (okay I had one professor who did a single question practice test but it was graded +/- and gave no specific feedback). So even if you're told (or read) about how the exams work, you have no opportunity to make sure you really comprehend and can put into practice what you've been told. You have to get it exactly right the first time. If you come from, say, an engineering background, it can be a pretty big culture shift.

What drew you to continue? Repaying a $50,000 loan would at least be easier than a $150,000 loan.

Everybody thinks they're special. My single biggest mistake was not applying for a 1L job until after I got my first semester grades when you should actually start applying a couple of months before that. Anyway, I thought "well, I'm going to a top 20 school, my grades are at about the median, and I have multiple computer science degrees that should make me very attractive for patent law, which is what I want to do anyway." This was, of course, dead wrong. Law school name recognition counts for nothing outside of a tiny handful of schools. Grade-wise, nothing matters outside the top third (nowadays the top quarter or even top 10%). And patent law jobs may draw from a smaller applicant pool, but there are also fewer jobs. Having a strong science background is no great help in that market. And having a good 1L job is vital: once you're off the rails you cannot get back on again.

(By the way, if your kid is considering patent law based on her biology degree, she shouldn't. Most firms looking for bio majors want a Ph.D. And it would be lunacy to get a Ph.D. with the ultimate goal of going to law school.)

If I were so foolish as to redo law school, I would drop out if my first semester grades were not in the top quarter, unless I had already landed an amazing 1L summer job. It's just too much of a crapshoot otherwise. And I would frankly advise anyone else to do the same. There's no reason to go into more than a single semester's debt.

And I'm better off than many people. I have a job that requires a JD, I do some consulting and private practice on the side, and I started a law-related blog that has been successful beyond my wildest dreams. But all of these things were the product of incredible dumb luck on my part. And so if I could choose to do it over again I wouldn't.
posted by jedicus at 8:11 AM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


dixiecupdrinking, your optimism is refreshing but not borne out by my friends' experiences at several of the law schools you mention. I am worried about those of my friends who have gambled and lost and now face extreme financial hardship and instability, which hardship is not eased in the least by LRAP.

For people considering law school for public service/activist purposes, consider this.
posted by prefpara at 10:13 AM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or this recent AskMe.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:09 PM on August 13, 2011


Thank you to all who answered. It is pretty much as I expected, but have never really asked. My girl is still in undergraduate school, so there is plenty of time left for her to think about it, and financing isn't really (cough!) an issue, but I certainly had not understood how many law grads there are out there, or what the situation vis-a-vis public interest law is (e.g., the plentitude of top grads with big firms doing pro-bono as first year work). Her decisions have always been her own, but I like to know what she's up against. Each of you individually made important points and directed me in different useful directions--I've favorited you all and wish I could favorite twice. Thanks again.
posted by carping demon at 3:16 PM on August 13, 2011


The public interest job market has always been competitive, but I can attest that it's brutal right now. I graduated in '04, got a job, and still have that job. I like it, but the problem for new grad is that I and my colleagues will never leave our jobs as long as the economy is so bad. My first few years out of law school there was regular turnover as people moved on to other jobs that allowed them to explore other interests or develop other skills. Two years was typical before moving on. There was almost no one who had been there longer than 3 years. Now it's normal to stay 3 years, and we have a handful of 5+ year vets. It's just too risky with budget cuts to move to another job and wind up being the last hire when it comes time to lay people off.
posted by Mavri at 3:48 PM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


rmhsinc: "I do believe the "best law schools" do generally produce better lawyers. "

As a grad of a regional law school, I must respectfully disagree. To be quite honest, I think it's a reckless and unsubstantiated claim which is kind of offensive, and a very telling result of the sad condition of a profession enslaved by the myth that prestigious law degree makes you a better lawyer. It does give you better opportunities, no question, but T-14 degree=better lawyer? No way.

I think Top Tier law schools may generally turn out better policy wonks, who have better opportunities to make a living in a choice job in which policy wonking skills are important (e.g, teaching, legislative analyst, public policy research, etc.), but as far as practical litigation skills? I will always be far more leery of walking into the hometown courtroom of a regional grad, who has probably been honing litigation skills since she was a 2L and interned with the local DA, than a Yale grad who found trial practice and legal research and writing training beneath her standing as a future federal judge. I had a judge mention to me the other day how he'd had Top Tier grads in his courtroom who couldn't properly admit and introduce an exhibit, much less work a basic piece of litigation without being heavily supervised by an expensive partner.

For example, let's look to what most everyday people would associate as the best American lawyers: SCOTUS justices. So do top tier law schools make better justices than regional law schools? Take a look at the breakdown of SCOTUS justices by education. Note how in the modern era, T-14 grads have a monopoly on seats. In fact, you'll see only a handful of justices from non-T-14 schools you're likely to recognize as having written classic, foundational casebook opinions (e.g. Hugo Black, Burger and Thurgood Marshall) of the type of which most non-lawyers would recognize (i.e., 1A, 4-6A opinions as opposed to an opinion on civil procedure, admin law, or statutory interpretation like an ERISA case). Will we see a Executive Branch with the balls to seriously nominate* a non T-14 grad in our lifetime? Probably not, because why look to a second tier law school when your T-14 grads likewise have a monopoly not only on your pool of circuit court judges sitting in the plum 2d Circuit and DC Circuit SCOTUS feeder judge appointments, but SCOTUS clerkships as well?

Since we have T14 grads taking responsibility for the brunt of SCOTUS opinions, they also get to accept the blame for all the extremely unjust results of all the appellate decisions which shape the foundations of federal common law and bind district court judges. You know what this tells me? Top tier grads are undoubtedly skilled at doing the legal gymnastics necessary to write activist, results-oriented decisions. For example, a crim pro class in which you survey 4/5/6A jurisprudence will certainly provide a startling realization of the amount of work Rehnquist and his cabal put into seeding his opinions to gradually erode basic civil liberties. Crim pro decisions are a good example, but I see even more unjust results in another field: Federal Indian law. I happen to practice in a field of law made up of a patchwork of 200 years of roller coaster SCOTUS caselaw driven by 200 years of roller coaster executive branch policy. You want to see some examples of judicial activism? I can show you opinions in which justices bend over backwards to write opinions that will result in screwing tribes and tribal members. Go read some fed Indian law cases from the Rehnquist Court (and I'm not talking about just Republican appointees such as Rehnquist and Scalia; Ruth Bader Ginsburg and JPS wrote some doozies) which basically create a patchwork of jurisdictional confusion in Indian country and then explain to me why we should continue to allow Harvard, Yale, etc., and its largely overprivileged ilk define the scope of our fundamental constitutional rights and those of the hundreds of separate sovereigns that happen to be geographically located within the boundaries of the United States.

So, if your thesis that T-14 excellence were correct, I'd expect to see a record of excellence and a correspondingly low error rate in the work product of those who sit on the highest court of our land. I see the opposite. But here's the kicker: It's the highest Court in the land consisting of individuals who are appointed for life. If they're wrong, they're practically unaccountable to anyone, as Congress isn't going to bother impeaching a justice for error, when in most cases they can just fix it by drafting legislation. This becomes a political issue, requiring us non-T14 unwashed masses to amass resources, influence (read: lobbyists with T-14 degrees who went to law school with these legislators) necessary to pressure our congresscritters to fix the error. Show of hands: how many of you think Citizens United was wrongly decided and that a corporation shouldn't be considered a "person" under the First Amendment? You do? Don't see the justices in the Roberts Court worried about being held accountable for messing that one up, do you? So yes, nice work if you can get it T-14 grads, AND your alma maters get to lay claim to excellence by taking credit for producing grads who produce work that is difficult, if not impossible for any single human to hold you accountable for your work product.

I'd be willing to bet you that pound for pound, you could probably find a bigger pool of excellent candidates for the Nation's highest judicial office in non-T-14 schools than in T-14 schools. There's a lot of money riding on the perception of elite status of T-14 schools, so there's a lot vested in protecting it. Maybe the bad economy will be the first step in busting this myth as T-14 professors start speaking more about the law school racket.

tl;dr: Top Tier law schools producing better lawyers? I'm unconvinced.

*cf The Harriet Miers nomination, which obviously did not result in a confirmation. Some would argue this was not actually a serious nomination, and that she was never expected to be confirmed.
posted by Dr. Zira at 1:17 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mario Cuomo, a St. John's alum, was seriously courted to be a Supreme Court nominee, but as with everything else people wanted him to do, he didn't want the position. I wonder what would have happened had Bill Clinton "broken the seal" on having a lawyer from the second tier on the court - Cuomo had garnered enough respect to probably see the nomination through, barring any hitherto-unknown skeletons in his closet.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:27 AM on August 14, 2011


I'm sorry I can't really contribute anything useful here but I just wanted to say "Thank You" for folks honestly sharing their bad graduate (i.e., Law) school experiences. I'm not in law, but it still makes me feel a little bit better about my own (completely shitty, thus far) experiences in graduate school. Desire really is the root of suffering, so it would seem.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:37 AM on August 14, 2011


What is 1A, 4-6A jurisprudence?
posted by grouse at 7:21 AM on August 14, 2011


grouse, the capital letter A is a common shorthand for Amendment, so 1A refers to the First Amendment and so on.
posted by prefpara at 7:28 AM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Per Above the Law, the blogger has outed himself as Paul Campos of Colorado.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:44 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


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