November 24, 2009

An awful lot of young people seem to think their personal escape from the economic valley of despair...

... is through law school.

45 comments:

JohnAnnArbor said...

Great. More lawyers sucking productivity from the economy. Just wonderful.

David said...

Frying pan. Fire. New kind of despair.

Have bought forth a generation who believe that they should be immune from despair>

Ain't . . . gonna . . . happen.

Deal with it.

former law student said...

And thank goodness for that. Otherwise the professor and Meade would be drinking Milwaukee's best instead of Delirium Nocturnum.

Paddy O. said...

I thought that.

Which is why I took the LSAT. Did quite well at it.

Then I went to seminary.

I realized my questions and passion went deeper than finances. I stopped trusting others to give me the answers. So, I pressed on and learned how to address those. And I keep pressing on.

Now, I'm still quite in the economic valley. But, there's not a bit of despair to be seen anywhere.

John said...

Don't do it. I hate being a lawyer. I love the law. I enjoy thinking and writing about the law. But I hate practicing the law. You just shuffle paper. The only legal job I have ever loved was being a criminal prosecutor. And I loved that job. But, sadly there is little money in it.

If I had it to do over again, I would have quit law after I got my jury trial fix and learned how to do something productive.

chuck b. said...

Those that can, do. Those that can't, go to law school.

SteveR said...

I always thought that was grad school in general.

edutcher said...

And Mrs. Meade must now show them the error of their ways. These are the people who, in Computer Science parlance, would otherwise be out getting a "You want fries with that?" degree.

You have my sympathy.

Truly.

WV "cajumb" Someone from the Louisiana back country just returned from the dentist.

Scott said...

There has to be some profession other than the law that a person who loves rhetoric can pursue -- but I can't think of one offhand.

Pogo said...

Beats workin', since there ain't any to be had.

But borrowing money to avoid unemployment seems foolhardy, especially since there seems little likelihood the law degree will be any more useful in 3 years, upon graduation, than it is now.

It probably seems like training for a better job and permits escape from the pain of joblessness.

But this here Depression is gonna be damned hard. So it forestalls the inevitable, and adds the insult of debt to the injury of unemployment.

Bissage said...

I think this is great news.

I'm thinking of quitting the profession and one of those bright, young minds can take my place.

I'm off to med school!!!1!!!1!!!!!

YoungHegelian said...

Coming from a well-known liberal arts college that produces more than its fair share of lawyers, I can tell you that an unspoken and rather nasty classism often underlies the choice of law. "Hey, it's an easier profession to get into than medicine, and mommy and daddy want the best for me, and, besides, there's something so plebian about selling something other than my brillance for a living."

I've mentioned to fellow young graduates that what they really want to be for an easy life is the kind of salesman who can sell a bucket of snow to an Eskimo.

Blank stares.

Big Mike said...

Most of them will end up one (for those who discover that law school isn't at all like sleeping through sociology lectures) to three years later with no better job prospects and a lot of extra debt on their hands.

traditionalguy said...

The point that this article dances around using a Lawyers Are Bad and Increasing meme is the helplessness of educational businesses to teach a relevant skill in Law Schools and in Business MBA schools . All our legal and business skills are based upon private property rights and a freedom of contract for the practice of business. ( and throw in another 5% for criminal defense work). The Obama-nation will only need skilled PR persons and high level Blago types cutting up the loot among the thieves. Unions and industries will all be joined at the monopoly hip and will exclude all competition and their serfs shall not need lawyers. For example the VA says representing a Veteran for a legal fee in a VA proceeding is a crime. Veterans are the VA's serfs and serfs are protected by Big Brother and not lawyers. Lawyers speaking to Juries are the key to our freedoms. Therefore the Obama guys plan is to eliminate them. The PI lawyers will be soon be gone too; they are only a needed coalition member for as long as Free Elections that require cash donations from Americans remain part of our system. What does a Fascist State need lawtyers for anyway...that would be like the MAFIA factions using lawyers to resolve differences instead of Summitt Meetings backed up by a fear of assasination.

Paddy O. said...

John, your comment was what I heard from just about every lawyer I knew at the time. Which was a big decision in me not going to law school.

Scott, it's the classical choice between law or ministry.

Though in both fields a love of rhetoric is often undermined when it becomes a vocation.

traditionalguy said...

Paddy o...The skill set that make one a good lawyer also happens to be the skill set that makes people good Preachers and good Crooks. Humans are the source of our being hurt and humans are also the source of our being healed.

kathleen said...

smart people should go because we desperately need smart lawyers. a lot of them are mediocre. However, it's stupid to pay private school tuition rates. That rarely pays off. I would go in-state school all the way.

John Lynch said...

If we didn't have so many laws we wouldn't need so many lawyers.

The American people did this through their own choices.

And a lawyer is bad until you need one.

Flexo said...

Yes, coming out of law school with over a $100,000 in student loan debt (repayment of which can never be avoided because it is ultimately going to be owned by the government), and still not having a job because this recession, like the one in the early 90s, has reached deep into the white collar sectors, including the law, yes, all of this is an excellent way to escape from the valley of despair -- an escape right into the abyss of despair.

hdhouse said...

Isn't a mindset for being a lawyer escaping from the valley of dispair with a $150,000 lifeline and thinking that is a good idea.

(hey you can always round up that 10 minutes with a client to a full hour and 2 hours of research)

Penny said...

While the culture may change over the years, some things NEVER change. Young people continue to find creative ways to avoid their first "real" job. Becoming a productive member of society is just, well... SO hard!

Paddy O. said...

tradguy, so true.

James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.


Preachers and lawyers can do great works with their rhetoric, or they can do some of the worst evils.

Balfegor said...

Don't do it. I hate being a lawyer. I love the law. I enjoy thinking and writing about the law. But I hate practicing the law. You just shuffle paper.

I have sort of the reverse experience. I'm more or less indifferent to the law -- it's a set of rules, but I don't get any intellectual thrill out of researching or interpreting it. It just is what it is, and when you need to, you come up with an interpretation of what's out there that fits the facts of your case and the interests of your client.

But the practice of law -- of reviewing and analyzing corporate records, of interviewing witnesses, of poring through journal entries and accounting ledgers, of piecing together the factual record from documents and witness statements, of constructing an advantageous presentation of the facts, even just of investigating a client's IT and document retention systems to make sure one has preserved all the documents that need to be preserved -- I actually rather enjoy all that. It's "shuffling paper," after a fashion, but the paper frames a narrative. It's puzzle that tells a story (that you view through a lens of caselaw and statute). And working through that is fun.

That said, that's a sort of fun that I think you really only get to enjoy in the fairly narrow areas I practice in. I don't think it's typical of the practice of law overall, and it's certainly not the kind of work law school prepares you for.

bagoh20 said...

And a lawyer is bad until you need one." Kinda like a root canal.

Balfegor said...

I should note, though, that it sounds like John has a lot more experience than I have. Maybe I'll grow to hate it too.

bagoh20 said...

The living standards of the average homeless bum are improving rapidly and it's a growing vibrant community. Just lower the bar to where you can reach. Instant bliss. You can still read and write to your hearts content, it's free. Or maybe that's not really the motivation.

GaMongrel said...

No, No, no...

Just being able to survive the new social and economic climate, one no longer needs foreign languages like chinese or spanish... they need to be able to speak and comprehend the legalese that pervades every facet of our beings..

GaMongrel

save_the_rustbelt said...

News flass - there are too many law schools producing too many lawyers.

Good for management consultants (me) bad for lawyers.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Make that "flash" - I have trouble with the typing.

k*thy said...

It probably seems like training for a better job and permits escape from the pain of joblessness.

I would guess that's the bet they're putting their money on. I mean, if you're just sitting around the house playing Wii after resumes and cover letters are out, why the heck not?

And I don't think this creates more lawyers, as some are lamenting. Law schools pretty much have capped limits on classes, right? You might get some past admissions that wouldn't necessarily be there in good times, but if they can get past the admissions committee, who's to say...

Beaverdam said...

"First we kill all the lawyers."

Trooper York

elHombre said...

From Paddy O: 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

So sayeth James the Blunt.

AJ Lynch said...

Most of us struggle thru work & career decisions. It's a part of life for which I blame Adam & Eve.

Fred4Pres said...

Being a lawyer will work for some and not work for others. Before you incur lots and lots of debt, expense and time--consider alternatives and make sure it is what you really want. Do what you love not what you think will make you rich.

Paddy O. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AJ Lynch said...

Well Paddy O, you may have spurned the big bucks career. But the rest of us don't have your big inheritance to fall back on.

I am assuming you are a wealthy offspring of the inventor, Paddy O. Furniture :)

jimbino said...

Right. For a person who can't master math, science, economics or engineering, law school is the place to be. Only some 5% of your fellow students will be competent in the useful arts.

Bissage said...

DUCT TAPE!!1!!!!!!1!!!!!!

Paddy O. said...

AJ, providing backyard seating and tables for people all over the world since the 1750s.

Skipper50 said...

Better choices: Plumbing, electric contracting, auto repair. Do something useful and needed, people. Heck, the only reason you went to college at all was parents/social expectation.

AJ Lynch said...

Paddy O:

Good one!

Donna B. said...

Y'all are such a cynical gang! I actually like most of the lawyers I've met, and the ones I've met that I didn't like, I would likely have disliked if they'd been plumbers or poets.

I know more plumbers than I do lawyers (and have both in the family) and it's not necessarily a great time to be a plumber either.

Jason said...

If I ran a law school, I'd have everyone read The Millionaire Next Door, from day one, first year.

And read it again immediately before graduation.

kentuckyliz said...

I met a young woman who was in med school who hated people. She was miserable. But it was what her parents wanted.

I told her, don't go chasing status, you don't exist to fulfill your parents' egos, you have to live with the misery for a lifetime.

I noted how well she interacted with animals, and asked if she had considered applying to vet school?

After Obamacare forces reductions in physician pay and imposes costs on them, being a vet might be a more lucrative occupation after all.

former law student said...

I noted how well she interacted with animals, and asked if she had considered applying to vet school?

After Obamacare forces reductions in physician pay and imposes costs on them, being a vet might be a more lucrative occupation after all.

Vet school is highly competitive -- there are still only 28 accredited vet schools in the US compared to 130 medical schools. Moreover, vets must still spend a great deal of time interacting with pets' human owners. Vet procedures usually cost one-tenth that of the same procedure performed on people. Even so, the prospect of a big vet bill often leads owners to choose euthanasia or pound surrender.