TeeJaw Blog

Law School Might Be A Big Mistake

Posted in Culture, Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Tuesday, January 4, 2011, 10: 53 AM

I’ve said before that going to law school might be a bad idea. See, Thinking of Going To Law School? — Think Again. Now even the American Bar Association is saying the same thing.

The ABA issues a warning to prospective law school applicants on its website. In the concluding paragraph the ABA says,

IV. ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE LAW STUDENTS
All law school applicants should have a clear picture of the debt that they will incur and the expected earning power of graduates from the schools to which they are applying. If their expected salary cannot easily support their expected debt, students should look for other options to cut back on expenses while in law school. Options include attending a local law school and living at home, going to a public school where one can get in-state tuition, enrolling in a part time program and continuing to work, or carefully controlling costs while in law school. If students do not consider the financial implications of their decision to attend law school, they may find themselves facing debt levels that they cannot support. With careful planning, however, everyone who wants to attend law school should be capable of doing so. A prospective law student should thus weigh her options carefully before choosing where to go to law school.

Notice the feminine pronoun used in the last sentence. This alone might make you think twice about going to law school. Do you really want to be a member of a profession whose largest professional association is that steeped in political correctness? Oh well, I dropped my membership in the ABA 25 years ago for that and plenty of other reasons. In fact, only a distinct minority of lawyers are members. But that is a digression.

The ABA warning does hit the right buttons in its warning. Most law schools are REAL expensive. Borrowing money to pay those costs is, to be charitable, foolish. To be frank, it is numbskull stupid. The legal landscape for graduates is hostile, to say the least. There are fewer jobs than qualified graduates and the pay is barely adequate to live on much less repay $150,000 of student loans. Yes, yes, the top 2% of graduates from Ivy League schools start at $200K. Will that be you? Or will you be in the other 98%? And even those in that 2% don’t have a lot of job security. Check this out from the ABA journal this past November: Largest Law Firms Still Shrinking — Shedding 1,400 Lawyers This Year

But if you must go to law school anyway, then you might help yourself by reading the advice I gave in my previous post linked at the top of this column. It should be helpful not only to those young folks thinking about taking themselves out of the productive labor market and running up debt instead of bringing in income for three years, but also anyone who knows or is related to such a person and cares about their future. There is a formula in that post for success as a lawyer even for those who didn’t go to any Ivy League school, were not on any law review, and may not even have been stellar students. Most anyone willing to work hard [as in 80 hours a week until you’re 40 and never thinking of anything but your work] can do it and you don’t have to be genius. It’s not easy, but it works.

Last bit of advice. If you’re reading this you are probably not a liberal. If you’re going to be a law student and eventually a lawyer you should consider switching sides. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in hostile territory. Is the law profession liberal? Most lawyers are liberal and liberals politicize everything. Be prepared.

One last warning. Lawyers, especially those who belong to the ABA, cling to the notion that the law is a profession. Don’t believe it. It’s a business. A ruthless one at that. Nothing wrong with that, in my opinion. But the cant of pretending it’s a profession can get old after a while. Sure you wouldn’t like to be a dentist? They make more money than MD’s these days, and a lot more money than the average lawyer.

UPDATE: Check out this informative and well written story: Should You Drop Out Of Law School — First Year Law Student Wants Your Advice

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