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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 27
    More: Obvious, Chicago School, value proposition, neoliberals, efficient markets, law schools, rational choice theory, rule of law, torts  
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6100 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Nov 2013 at 5:15 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-24 08:41:51 PM  
4 votes:
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 05:38:59 PM  
4 votes:

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.


All that really taught them is they can fark up so badly that it almost sends the entire world's economy into a tail spin and they won't get in trouble for it.
2013-11-24 03:09:17 PM  
4 votes:
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.
2013-11-24 10:56:40 PM  
2 votes:
Law school is my biggest regret.  Had I known then what I know now, I never would have attended.
2013-11-24 08:41:36 PM  
2 votes:
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 05:46:29 PM  
2 votes:

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.


You. On to my greenlist. I first came to the conclusion that university is a cult-like machine used to control access to jobs about 13 years ago when I was working for a then-existing big electronics company. When I spoke to the engineers there about this theory I was black-listed almost immediately.

Engineers don't question systems, and for all their educations about systems theory, are remarkably incurious about systems outside of their little boxes.

That said, I quite enjoyed auditing university-level courses and taking exams and stuff, but demanding bachelor's degrees for any even remotely desirable job is criminal.
2013-11-24 05:43:46 PM  
2 votes:
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.
2013-11-25 04:39:48 AM  
1 votes:

Theaetetus: HotWingAgenda: /paralegal (under pressure from both attorneys AND clients to go to law school)

I believe you're non-IP. Don't do it. I know many paralegals who went to law school and, despite what attorneys and clients said, made themselves effectively unemployable while racking up huge debt. Stick with the moderately lucrative and safe career.


I'm a software engineer with 5 years of engineering school, but no degree. My employers are on me on occasion to go back to school. It's a negative value proposition for me. At this point, I'm 15 years out. 5 years ago, I got a bug in my butt to go back to school. I rang up my alma mater, and inquired what it would take to finish up my degree. Well, it turns out that the education I received 10 years prior was horribly out of date, and they would only accept their own credits on a case by case basis.

And they'd figure out what cases after I cut them a check and started the enrollment process.

At this point, when the kids are out of nest and I'm horribly bored, I might, *might* go back to school out of sheer vanity. Or I might just accept that I'm throwing money into a burn pile and buy a Porsche. Actually, the Porsche would be a) cheaper, and b) contribute more to my business image.
2013-11-25 01:03:11 AM  
1 votes:

corn-bread: 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.


Tell that to the recruiting department at my firm. Please.

/"But this guy graduated from  Harvard!"
//"Yes, but he's a kid who has never earned a paycheck a day in his life, and he writes like shiat. Can I have the one who worked continuously while in school and has five years of professional experience in the relevant industry before going to law school?"
///"But, but, but Haaaaaaarvard!"
2013-11-25 12:58:56 AM  
1 votes:

HotWingAgenda: /paralegal (under pressure from both attorneys AND clients to go to law school)


I believe you're non-IP. Don't do it. I know many paralegals who went to law school and, despite what attorneys and clients said, made themselves effectively unemployable while racking up huge debt. Stick with the moderately lucrative and safe career.
2013-11-24 10:33:53 PM  
1 votes:

bunner: mama's_tasty_foods: I  think what he meant was that, at least as he saw it, contract attorneys were people who graduated law school with lackluster credentials and had no other options because no firm would hire them

The late Richard T. Watson, once with Spieth, Bell, Newell and McCurdy had been in the Who's Who of law since they started publishing it, Harvard man. former CIA spook, widely regarded as the most brilliant contract attorney in the US for years.  Not exactly slipping by on C+.  :  )


ahhh, wait- I think we are talking about two different things. I used the term "contract attorney" to mean a kind of temp employee. These are lawyers who don't have a regular employer, but are often hired to do document review or other pretty menial and tedious tasks, usually on big class-action cases. Their work could often be done by paralegals or law students, but the firms like to pay them an hourly rate with no benefits, then collect at "lawyer pay" from the client or opponent when the class action settles. And when the case is over, they are all gone without a second thought.

You are referring to a lawyer who negotiates deals, who is hired as an associate at a firm and can make partner, and big big bucks. Yes I agree, of course, those lawyers run the big firms and make sky high incomes.
2013-11-24 10:22:47 PM  
1 votes:

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.
2013-11-24 10:10:54 PM  
1 votes:

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 09:44:32 PM  
1 votes:

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 09:44:09 PM  
1 votes:

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 08:32:14 PM  
1 votes:
I hated law school.   Too many arrogant, hyper-competitive and treacherous people all concentrated in the same place.
2013-11-24 08:21:12 PM  
1 votes:

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 08:18:46 PM  
1 votes:
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 07:33:26 PM  
1 votes:

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 07:25:21 PM  
1 votes:

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 05:52:43 PM  
1 votes:

Quantum Apostrophe: Engineers don't question systems, and for all their educations about systems theory, are remarkably incurious about systems outside of their little boxes.


Um, an engineer without at least an undergraduate education, and without the will and resourcefulness to stick with a project for a few years and finish, is pretty inevitably going to be terrible at the job.

So possibly you just needed to pick your audience better?  I'm sure there are professions where the education isn't actually required to know how to do the job where people won't immediately dismiss you as stupid for thinking otherwise.  Like property management or insurance sales or something.
d23 [TotalFark]
2013-11-24 05:28:47 PM  
1 votes:

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.
2013-11-24 05:26:08 PM  
1 votes:

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.
2013-11-24 05:17:08 PM  
1 votes:
Now we need the followup: Why MBA's are useless and their graduates are ruining America.
2013-11-24 04:22:19 PM  
1 votes:
I am totally shocked.
2013-11-24 02:31:48 PM  
1 votes:
No. shiat.

/3L
2013-11-24 02:26:38 PM  
1 votes:
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.
 
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