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(Salon)   This just in: Law schools are greedy, useless, and toxic, especially since the legal profession is in disarray   (salon.com) divider line 148
    More: Obvious, Chicago School, value proposition, neoliberals, efficient markets, law schools, rational choice theory, rule of law, torts  
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6085 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Nov 2013 at 5:15 PM (34 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-24 07:09:10 PM
Build a society where the only consensus for Success is wealth, and stuff like lotsa law schools happen.


/15th-16th-C. Englishmen were no strangers to lawyers either
 
2013-11-24 07:12:10 PM
I went back to law school at 30 after doing IT for 12+ years.  I did a night program and continued to work during the day.  Over time I gradually transitioned from IT to law full time.  As a result I suffered no decrease in income and am actually making more now than my last years in IT.

The law profession is changing.  Lawyers today have to be agile, they have to roll with the punches and always be hustling business.  The days of lawyer incubating in large firms until they can learn the profession are over.  These days you're expected to hit the ground running and start producing from day 1.  If you're able to do that, then you'll do fine in law.  If not, perhaps you can land a nice general counsel gig or work at a government agency.  Baring that, you're screwed.
 
2013-11-24 07:25:21 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Yes, but does *everyone* need to be an engineer? That's what I'm getting at.


As an engineer, I'd say fark no, really unless you have the right mix of talent, nerdiness, and sticktoitiveness you'll either bomb out of school or worse, get stuck doing something you really aren't into because you can't afford not to.

Side note what probably tells a lot about why the job market for lawyers is starting to suck, Japan. Japan, a industrialized nation, has about one lawyer for every 4000 people vs 250 in the US. That will tell you something about how actually important a law degree is to the jobs out there; not so much. Specially in Japan clerks and managers handle contracts without the aid of lawyers. Why pay a lawyer $120k/yr to fill out contract templates when you can get your sr admin to do the same thing for $55k/yr. Your admin likely knows more than the lawyers up at corporate. And you need the thing done now not have the contract come back a big mess in a month and have to redo it. Get the admin to paste up some boilerplate, review it, and get corporate to sign off on it. There done.
 
2013-11-24 07:28:37 PM

v15: *still not detoured from wanting to pursue law*


*deterred

Attorneys like you keep paralegals like me in business.
 
2013-11-24 07:33:26 PM

corn-bread: I went back to law school at 30 after doing IT for 12+ years.  I did a night program and continued to work during the day.  Over time I gradually transitioned from IT to law full time.  As a result I suffered no decrease in income and am actually making more now than my last years in IT.

The law profession is changing.  Lawyers today have to be agile, they have to roll with the punches and always be hustling business.  The days of lawyer incubating in large firms until they can learn the profession are over.  These days you're expected to hit the ground running and start producing from day 1.  If you're able to do that, then you'll do fine in law.  If not, perhaps you can land a nice general counsel gig or work at a government agency.  Baring that, you're screwed.


You know that the legal IT field has been booming, right? You don't have to have a law degree to work for an e-discovery company. My impression has been that if you have a law degree you might make more money but you'll have to work a lot harder than if you have technical skills.
 
2013-11-24 07:37:38 PM
Of course they are.  They have to prepare you to function in a courtroom.
 
2013-11-24 07:42:35 PM
an old Mexican curse - "Espero que tu vida está llena de abogados"
 
2013-11-24 07:49:31 PM
I. Am. Gobsmacked. At. This. Revelation.
 
2013-11-24 07:58:00 PM
I was pretty horrified when I found out that there was a moral character component to being admitted to the bar.  But the law school wouldn't give me my money back.
 
2013-11-24 08:00:34 PM
Uni, the old model.

www.oxfordtefl.com

Uni, the new model.
www.abc.net.au
Remember kids, get lots of degrees and impress HR wankers!
 
2013-11-24 08:18:46 PM
There are lawyers, who fight about the law, justice, equality and a level playing field for all. Then there are lawyers who fight to obscure facts, confuse the truth, mire juries down in complicated diatribes and to (A) Win -- a credit to their boated egos, and (B) make as much money for themselves and their client as possible.

I've known court cases to be dragged out for years in reluctance to settle a suit, over minute items, eventually costing more in legal fees than the original suit wanted as a settlement. I've known lawyers drag suits out to deliberately bankrupt their opponents, so the suit would be dropped or the plaintiff would settle for much less.

Evidence gets hidden, misfiled or lost. Misdirection is often used to cloud the opinion of the juries concerning the plaintiff. Expert witnesses can easily be bought to tell whatever a lawyer wants them to.

Then, the mass media expounding on how easy it is to get rich through filing lawsuits and the many reports of huge settlements created the Litigious Society that we live in now, where anyone can be sued for nearly any reason and common sense has been tossed out the window. TV is full of 'ambulance chasers' and contractual lawyers have become so adept at writing confusing contracts, designed mainly to benefit their employers, that the average person needs to have them looked at by other contract lawyers -- for a fee -- to determine how badly screwed they're going to get if they sign.

Notice how easily lawyers got the Infomercial People past the law requiring disclaimers to be posted on their product ads. Small script in light colors posted against a light background making it impossible to read plus the information is displayed for a handful of seconds only.

Consider HMO's, whose legal teams managed to make it acceptable for them to determine if a patient, with a terminal illness, deserves life saving treatments that are expensive and take months to do so, meaning the patient may die and save them money.

I don't suppose you recall the first lawyer who came up with the bright idea of having his criminal client sue his victim for rough handling when he got caught stealing the person's goods. The victim became the defendant.

Now the guy whose life was saved during an accident decades ago, where a physician stopped to give aid, before cell phones, before advanced medical care, and had to wait until someone got mto a phone to call the ambulance. He saved the guys life, but working under battlefield conditions in the dark, left the guy with some permanent injuries.

Quite understandable. He didn't have an ER in his car.

The guy, convinced by a lawyer, sued the Dr. for malpractice and won a huge settlement, which started the sue the medical field for everything and anything and get rich movement, which tremendously helped drive your medical costs almost beyond reach.

About 20% of your hospital bill goes towards paying for the team of hospital lawyers on retainer and 99% of all hospitals are fighting lawsuits constantly.

50% of your physicians are doing the same.

Pre-1980, that was very rare.

They invented the 'nuisance suit' a lawsuit slapped against someone just to drain his funds, with the plaintiff knowing they would loose. I'm aware of a man suing his sister over an inheritance he was denied by his parents, time and time again until she exhausted her savings and had to just give in. He lost every time, but kept on finding reasons to drag her into court and he had the money to do so.

(His inheritance? Antique furniture he didn't even want. After getting it, he shoved it in a warehouse, where it rots away. It was the 'principal' of the matter and he had a lawyer who sued for anything so long as he got paid. BTW, his deceased folks had already granted him a big chunk of cash in their will, but that wasn't enough, apparently.)

I started yelling about lawyers and lawsuits and pointing out the related long term effects years ago -- and most folks basically told me to get over it. Now, those folks are grumbling because their medical costs have become ridiculously high, their neighbor sued them for thousands when a tree of theirs fell on the neighbors lawn, and friends sued them over their kids getting scraped up playing in their yard.

Insurance companies, tired of a host of new lawsuits, now refuse to cover certain things for various reasons -- mainly they might get sued. Either that, or they'll up the premiums tremendous to cover the possibility of something happening.

(A Scout Camp tore down it's traditional fireplace, built decades ago, to rebuild it, only to find that the current insurance company would not cover it because of the potential for sparks from the flue starting fires. No fires had ever been started by the old, hand built one even when it began to crumble. Yet the new one, built to modern specifications, was considered a risk. Lawyers also said that Scouts might get hurt by the open flames and didn't want to pay medical bills. So, the fireplace was never built.)

Lawyers have become mainly a profit oriented profession, meaning major profits and who cares if they have to bend the rules, create ludicrous new laws or set precedents which can negatively effect everyone else down the line?

So, the schools have responded. At one time we churned out more lawyers than physicians because the lawyers could start making major bucks in much less time and with much less schooling than the Dr.s. Plus, the Dr.s were high on the list of people being slapped with lawsuits.

Most of Congress are lawyers so with lawyers making the laws, don't look for any relief anytime soon.
 
2013-11-24 08:21:12 PM

d23: ladyfortuna: desertfool: Now we need the followup: Why MBA's are useless and their graduates are ruining America.

I think the 2008 recession covered that one.

Wish the farkheads in corporate america would realize that.


Realize it?  It's their f*cking business plan!
 
2013-11-24 08:22:44 PM
I graduated law school this year and wanted to go into public service. Spent 18 months at a public defender's office only to get passed up for the job. Was down for a few days and got picked up by the local Prosecutor's office. But I'm a lucky one. My veteran status allowed to make some connections that helped me land the interviews.
 
2013-11-24 08:30:45 PM

Rik01: They invented the 'nuisance suit' a lawsuit slapped against someone just to drain his funds, with the plaintiff knowing they would loose.


AUGH!  God   DAMNIT... look, sorry, but this is rampant and it makes me cringe

This is loose

makingmemories.typepad.com

This is lose

i.imgur.com

Somebody please put up a note about this sh*t.  Please.  English.  It's important.
 
2013-11-24 08:32:14 PM
I hated law school.   Too many arrogant, hyper-competitive and treacherous people all concentrated in the same place.
 
2013-11-24 08:33:28 PM

BravadoGT: I hated law school.   Too many arrogant, hyper-competitive and treacherous people all concentrated in the same place.


So, lawyers.
 
2013-11-24 08:38:59 PM

bunner: Somebody please put up a note about this sh*t. Please. English. It's important.


Yeah! Better late then never.
 
2013-11-24 08:41:36 PM
Attention.

The justice system is an industry.

Cops, criminals, thugs, lawyers, judges, bureaucrats - sometimes interchangeable - all make coffee, put on their respective uniforms and go and clock in at the same factory.

Avoid interacting with any of these motherf*ckers as if your life depended on it.  You're welcome.
 
2013-11-24 08:41:51 PM
Ah the lengthy post of "conventional wisdom" in any thread about lawyers by someone who has no idea what lawyers do or what happens in the world of law, but is REALLY REALLY angry about it.


Rik01: I've known court cases to be dragged out for years in reluctance to settle a suit, over minute items, eventually costing more in legal fees than the original suit wanted as a settlement. I've known lawyers drag suits out to deliberately bankrupt their opponents, so the suit would be dropped or the plaintiff would settle for much less.


This is called clients.  Not lawyers.  Given that clients are paying for all that delay, if they don't want lengthy tactical delays  they tend to get rather . . . pissy about it if the lawyers are, to use a term of art "churning."

Rik01: I don't suppose you recall the first lawyer who came up with the bright idea of having his criminal client sue his victim for rough handling when he got caught stealing the person's goods


ah and now we have hit the FW: FW: FW: FW: part of today's show.

Rik01: About 20% of your hospital bill goes towards paying for the team of hospital lawyers on retainer and 99% of all hospitals are fighting lawsuits constantly.


Medical malpractice costs, including the pay of attorneys amounts to a whopping 1-2% of health care spending. and costs are going down as doctors are actually getting sued less due to tort reform that generally caps awards and makes suits harder.

Rik01: Most of Congress are lawyers so with lawyers making the laws, don't look for any relief anytime soon.


Congress is about 37% lawyers.   Give or take.  But of course, the last people we would want writing laws would understand how such laws work.  I would much rather normal schmoes passing unconstitutional law after unconstitutional law because of Jesus and such.  So thank goodness most of congress isn't lawyers.
 
2013-11-24 08:50:24 PM
None of the above is to say that the article isn't true and the legal field isn't a shiat-show right now.  Because it is.  A tri-modal shiat-show where 10-20 percent of grads earn $160K on graduation, 35% earn $40K and 45-55% earn $0.  I have seen brilliant personable people working at Ann Taylor Loft and living in mom's basement because they have to pay back $200k in loans.  And douchey third generation lawyers skating through life like assholes are wont to do.

But none of that is cause for making shiat up.  Reality is bad enough as it is.
 
2013-11-24 08:52:01 PM

whatshisname: bunner: Somebody please put up a note about this sh*t. Please. English. It's important.

Yeah! Better late then never.


Oh, it's never too late to stop drooling on your shoes while writing.   :  )
 
2013-11-24 08:57:33 PM

bunner: The justice system is an industry.


And an oxymoron. Like everything else these days, it's about money.
 
2013-11-24 09:01:43 PM

BetterMetalSnake: He's not wrong, but he sounds like an asshole. Law schools recruit because they want to exsist. Who want to volunteer to close down because the industry as a whole produces too many graduates? Would we expect McDonalds to close up shop because people are fat?

And I am getting pretty sick of the generalization that universities are expensive because of administration. They are expensive because students and parents demand more and more every year. If we don't give the client what they want, they will get it elsewhere, even if it costs more.

Ultimately, we should only teach networking and enguneering at any schools because that is the only thing worth pursuing as a career.


What "more and more" is being demanded? I mostly wanted the admin and staff to ignore me when I was in college.
 
2013-11-24 09:03:22 PM
So many damn lawyers in this country, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one. And they'll sew your ass when you do.
 
2013-11-24 09:03:41 PM

whatshisname: bunner: The justice system is an industry.

And an oxymoron. Like everything else these days, it's about money.


And,

Say it with me,

"As soon as something becomes primarily about money, the thing it is supposed to be about is the thing it used to be about."

And that's how America crawled up it's own ass while on it's knees to manipulative thieving pricks, Charlie Brown.  *sigh*
 
2013-11-24 09:05:26 PM

BetterMetalSnake: And I am getting pretty sick of the generalization that universities are expensive because of administration


You sound administrative.
 
2013-11-24 09:05:29 PM

corn-bread: I went back to law school at 30 after doing IT for 12+ years.  I did a night program and continued to work during the day.  Over time I gradually transitioned from IT to law full time.  As a result I suffered no decrease in income and am actually making more now than my last years in IT.

The law profession is changing.  Lawyers today have to be agile, they have to roll with the punches and always be hustling business.  The days of lawyer incubating in large firms until they can learn the profession are over.  These days you're expected to hit the ground running and start producing from day 1.  If you're able to do that, then you'll do fine in law.  If not, perhaps you can land a nice general counsel gig or work at a government agency.  Baring that, you're screwed.


Do you have to be able to break through the clutter and re-orient to new paradigms? I think that moving forward, robust synergy with organic growth is going to be the win-win strategy for spin-up to renewed sustainability.
 
2013-11-24 09:06:41 PM

Bandito King: Do you have to be able to break through the clutter and re-orient to new paradigms? I think that moving forward, robust synergy with organic growth is going to be the win-win strategy for spin-up to renewed sustainability.


I didn't get a harrumph out of you.
 
2013-11-24 09:13:49 PM
I didn't get a harrumph out of you.

Do I normally make you harrumph?
 
2013-11-24 09:22:03 PM
d23: ladyfortuna: desertfool: Now we need the followup: Why MBA's are useless and their graduates are ruining America.

I think the 2008 recession covered that one.

Wish the farkheads in corporate america would realize that.


and jump already.

/farkers
 
2013-11-24 09:23:13 PM

Bandito King: I didn't get a harrumph out of you.

Do I normally make you harrumph?


Sure, say something funny then poop all over my Blazing Saddles reference.  I see how it is.  Maybe I need a lawyer.
 
2013-11-24 09:33:22 PM

bunner: Bandito King: I didn't get a harrumph out of you.

Do I normally make you harrumph?

Sure, say something funny then poop all over my Blazing Saddles reference.  I see how it is.  Maybe I need a lawyer.


shiat, then I'm going to need a lawyer to stand a chance in Thunderdome. Can we just agree to both burn our money and call it square?
 
2013-11-24 09:39:58 PM
All my friends making $160K at IP firms at age 26 are going to be surprised to hear this.
 
2013-11-24 09:44:09 PM

bunner: Attention.

The justice system is an industry.

Cops, criminals, thugs, lawyers, judges, bureaucrats - sometimes interchangeable - all make coffee, put on their respective uniforms and go and clock in at the same factory.

Avoid interacting with any of these motherf*ckers as if your life depended on it.  You're welcome.


brookhavenbear.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-11-24 09:44:32 PM

Chach: All my friends making $160K at IP firms at age 26 are going to be surprised to hear this.


As are we that you have friends.
 
2013-11-24 09:47:09 PM

Bandito King: Can we just agree to both burn our money and call it square?


I'm gonna keep a fiddy for sammiches and beer and soda.  You want mayo or mustard?
 
2013-11-24 09:49:29 PM

whistleridge: That...was an overly verbose piece. Allow me to simplify:

1. Law school tuition is high, and continuing to rise in excess of inflation
2. This is in spite of the fact that the job market for attorneys stinks and isn't likely to improve soon
3. This is because law school is the only way out for entitled upper middle class kids who think they're rare and special and who were stupid enough to get dead-end liberal arts degrees. Besides, they just think that makes it more of a challenge
4. The law schools don't seem to feel bad about this.
5. A bunch of whining about teaching models and WHARRGARRBLLL that even people who went to law school don't care about
6. Therefore, money is bad and law schools should feel bad. But won't.


Thank you for the summary! I should have come straight to the comments & not clicked the article. Instead I read far enough to realize it was a willing buyer/willing seller situation we should all aplaud, like prostitution. Someone wants to pay to be f'ed, & someone is willing to be paid to f he or she. Problem?
 
2013-11-24 09:53:39 PM

dj_bigbird: It's so cute how the author completely avoids the main point of universities (of any sort) these days. It's a make-work program that is administration/staff heavy, making tons of $$. The problem in law school is the same as it is in any university.


Education is a scam.  Avoid it like the plague.
 
2013-11-24 09:53:47 PM

bunner: Bandito King: Can we just agree to both burn our money and call it square?

I'm gonna keep a fiddy for sammiches and beer and soda.  You want mayo or mustard?


Mustard, mayo is gross.
 
2013-11-24 09:54:59 PM

FishyFred: whistleridge: 3. This is because law school is the only way out for entitled upper middle class kids who think they're rare and special and who were stupid enough to get dead-end liberal arts degrees. Besides, they just think that makes it more of a challenge

They should try business school.


The world doesn't need more MBAs in marketing.
 
2013-11-24 10:01:28 PM

Bucky Katt: Education is a scam.  Avoid it like the plague.


No, education is astoundingly valuable.  A priceless commodity and a process that can last a lifetime.  Just because the label  says "EDUCATION.  INSERT MONEY HERE", however, doesn't mean that's what falls out of the machine.
 
2013-11-24 10:02:06 PM

Gyrfalcon: To be honest,  it's not untrue, what he's saying...except that he's putting the em-PHA-sis on the wrong sy-LAB-le, as my grandmother used to say. Law schools aren't any more greedy and useless than any other college or post-grad school, or the vocational colleges that have sprouted like ragweed all over the nation. You get what you put into it. If you go to any of the above and party or just go to class and do the bare minimum, then no, you won't get much out of it. If, however, you study and intern and use school to make connections--then strangely, you'll come out with a good career.

The problem is that law, unlike, say, medicine or auto repair, is a bifurcated profession. There is a whole lot of completely theoretical, historical knowledge you must have (case law, constitutional theory, etc.) that is completely separate from practical knowledge that you cannot get except in legal practice and which is different from state to state, and even county to county. But without the law school grounding, you can't comprehend the practical work. If you think that's not true, just look at all the GED lawyers right here on Fark who think they know why laws are bad, who then get their asses handed to them by actual lawyers; or the poor sad Occupy movement who were so ANGRY that Wall Street fatcats were getting huge bonuses and couldn't comprehend that it wasn't somehow, someway, illegal.

So you can't just eliminate law school (although people used to be able to get a license just by working for a judge for 10 years)(and still can in some jurisdictions if they pass the bar); and as to why they are so greedy, well, this is America after all. it's not illegal to want $$$. Or to pay it.


Don't you know by now that logic and common sense have no place on Fark?
 
2013-11-24 10:10:54 PM

BetterMetalSnake: He's not wrong, but he sounds like an asshole. Law schools recruit because they want to exsist. Who want to volunteer to close down because the industry as a whole produces too many graduates? Would we expect McDonalds to close up shop because people are fat?

And I am getting pretty sick of the generalization that universities are expensive because of administration. They are expensive because students and parents demand more and more every year. If we don't give the client what they want, they will get it elsewhere, even if it costs more.

Ultimately, we should only teach networking and enguneering at any schools because that is the only thing worth pursuing as a career.


A fair amount of the bureaucracy is devoted to meeting the growing demands of the so-called "accountability" movement that requires endless reports, studies, and other mindless paperwork.
 
2013-11-24 10:11:26 PM

Bucky Katt: FishyFred: whistleridge: 3. This is because law school is the only way out for entitled upper middle class kids who think they're rare and special and who were stupid enough to get dead-end liberal arts degrees. Besides, they just think that makes it more of a challenge

They should try business school.

The world doesn't need more MBAs in marketing.


Careful, when I say the world doesn't need more ways to make disposable plastic trinkets I get called a Luddite and a troll.
 
2013-11-24 10:12:40 PM

Bucky Katt: Don't you know by now that logic and common sense have no place on Fark?


I am beginning to lose purchase upon the notion that looking at a sea of venom, greed and hypocrisy and saying "hey, well, that's how it is and, like, it's crappy, yeah, but hey, I mean, if that's how it is, who's to say it shouldn't be?" as being common sense.
 
2013-11-24 10:14:48 PM

Bucky Katt: reports, studies, and other mindless paperwork.


So, no actual accountability was pestered, enforced or arrived at in this movement?  :  )
 
2013-11-24 10:14:49 PM

Chach: All my friends making $160K at IP firms at age 26 are going to be surprised to hear this.


IP is a different animal because if the Patent Bar. That is a very small fraction of the profession.
 
2013-11-24 10:16:07 PM
I feel very bad for anyone in law school today.

CSBs: 1- every time my firm advertises for a secretarial position, among the 100 or so resumes are always at least one lawyer, desperate to get their foot in the door.

2- recently had a case with a guy managing a 75-lawyer firm. He said that they took on a bunch of contract attorneys to help with overflow work on some huge case they are working on. They will let them all go when the big case is resolved, as it's an economic necessity- they don't have the work to keep them employed. He said that contract attorneys used to be bottom of the barrel but now the market is so bad that there are some quite talented people working as contract lawyers.
 
2013-11-24 10:18:58 PM

mama's_tasty_foods: He said that contract attorneys used to be bottom of the barrel


Any firm with billionaire business and corporate clients would vastly disagree with this assertion.
 
2013-11-24 10:22:47 PM

itcamefromschenectady: corn-bread: I went back to law school at 30 after doing IT for 12+ years.  I did a night program and continued to work during the day.  Over time I gradually transitioned from IT to law full time.  As a result I suffered no decrease in income and am actually making more now than my last years in IT.

The law profession is changing.  Lawyers today have to be agile, they have to roll with the punches and always be hustling business.  The days of lawyer incubating in large firms until they can learn the profession are over.  These days you're expected to hit the ground running and start producing from day 1.  If you're able to do that, then you'll do fine in law.  If not, perhaps you can land a nice general counsel gig or work at a government agency.  Baring that, you're screwed.

You know that the legal IT field has been booming, right? You don't have to have a law degree to work for an e-discovery company. My impression has been that if you have a law degree you might make more money but you'll have to work a lot harder than if you have technical skills.



E-discovery is just the tip of the iceberg.  The profession is so technologically behind the times.  Many Courts and clerk offices are paper-based operations.  Many judges (at least in Texas) are old-school people who want paper case files in front of them.  Many clerk officers still won't accept e-filing, and a large subset of them also will not accept any form of fax filing.  And that's a big thing too.....law firms and Courts are still *huge* users of fax machines because the Criminal and Civil Rules of Procedure have not been updated to allow defacto service of process via e-mail.

The Federal system, of course, is the opposite of all the above.  It is integrated, all digital, and state of the art (relatively speaking).

The Texas Supreme Court mandated that starting January 1, 2014 all counties must accept E-filing.  A law passed during this past legislature further mandated that all criminal prosecutors are required to maintain open file policies.  As a result many DA offices have been making the move to putting their case files online.

A well placed IT firm with experience in document management technologies can make an assload of money over the next 2 - 3 years.
 
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