Thursday, October 6, 2011

Law $chool: a Complete Waste of Time and Money

Abraham Lincoln, John Marshall and Strom Thurmond.  What do these great lawyers have in common?   They all became first rate, cream of the crop attorneys without stepping foot in a law school.  They made their place in history by using their legal skills and careers as a foundation for becoming President, a Supreme Court Justice and a United States Senator.  Impressive, right?  How would one become a lawyer without going to law school?  All three apprenticed with other, more experienced lawyers (also called "Reading Law") to become a lawyer.  So, long story short, the best way to fix law school is by eliminating it as a requirement to sit for the bar, and harkening back to those days when working as an apprentice attorney was enough.

I'm not saying that we must close all law schools down. What I propose is that we allow people to apprentice for a few years, even without pay, then sit for the bar exam.  If they pass, spectacular.  If they don't, they may have suffered without pay for three years--but at least they didn't pay for thee years of tuition to do it.

And for those students of the law who suffer from delayed adolescence (a/k/a "fear of the real world"), the law schools should be available to "prepare" you for the bar exam.  And to that point, the law schools will have to reform vastly to do this very basic task.  Currently, you attend law school for 3 years for $120K, then you must pay an additional $3525.00 for a review course or you won't pass on what you learned in law school alone.  Oh,  you weren't aware?  The law review class that you take after law school better prepares you for the bar exam than any of the classes you took in law school.  And this is coming from someone who strictly took "bar" classes.   I'm sure that you have run across people who "studied by themselves."  From what I've seen, those people fail more often than not.  So, under my model, to stay open--law schools will have to more closely resemble Barbri. Or even better, you can skip law school all together and just take Barbri and apprentice with someone.

Am I being harsh?  I don't think so.  When it comes down to it, you're not paying law schools to prepare you for the bar exam--Barbri does that.  You aren't paying law schools to help you find a job--they certainly don't do that.  You're paying for the experience--which is extremely grueling by the way.  I certainly didn't have any fun.  Did you?  So, that leaves us with paying a law school large sums of money so that you don't have to go out into the world and earn money.  My guess is, if capitalism were allowed to reign free, the schools who don't provide the sought after service, a career in the law, will either come down in price or close.  The others will improve their programs and produce better attorneys than any apprenticeship program can.

So, if you're so inclined (i.e. idiotic) to pay for law school under my new-if-Angel-ruled-the-world-model, feel free.

In case you were wondering, the "Reading Law" way to becoming an attorney is still available in a handful of states:  California, Maine, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming and Washington.  Let's reverse the trend of eliminating it as an option and bring it back as the primary way of becoming an attorney.

I have been accused of being a liberal many times.  Nothing can be farther from the truth. I believe that there should be as many options as possible for citizens.  I believe that the government should not subsidize or provide assistance to students seeking student loans.  I believe that the inflation in tuition is a direct result of government programs designed to educate Americans.  I believe that banks should bear the risk in lending money to students who choose worthless degrees.  And when they loan  money to someone with a worthwhile degree, they should charge a substantial amount of interest.  Lastly, I believe that all Americans should be entitled to bankruptcy--as it's just as much the creditor's fault as it is the debtors.  Both parties should live with the consequences of their foolhardy decisions.

Lastly, I very strongly hold that college education should not be a requirement to finding a professional job, and that college has become the new high school--since high school so ill prepares our youth to enter the work force.


In short, our unique blend of capitalism with socialist infusions of government guaranteed money is more evil and more detrimental than capitalism or socialism, or even communism, alone.  All that we have achieved is plenty of welfare for the rich, and nothing comparable for the poor.  We will all be masters or wage slaves at the end of the day, choose your path wisely.  And try walking your path with a crowd.  Makes the trip a bit easier.  See you out there for the big protest on October 6, 2011!


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16 comments:

  1. What happened... You went to a tier 4 school and are now 150-200 k in debt and no job prospects. I guess I would be a little bitter too...

    No one held a gun to your head to attend law school and if you attended one with a not so good reputation, that information has been out there as far back as I remember.

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  2. Wow. You never read my blog. I went to a Top 30 law school and I currently have $55K in debt, after paying it down aggressively. And when I went to law school (which is obviously before you remember) the internet was limited to IRC and school based emails.
    Fuck yourself.
    Harder.

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  3. What is it with people who comment on these blogs and don't have the first fucking clue about the people they're talking about?

    Come to think of it, of the "scambloggers," I don't think any went to the notorious, completely 4th-tier crapholes except maybe Subprime or Painter. It's a mixed bag, which speaks to the universality of the problems.

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  4. I went to a tier 1 school, for what its worth. I was thinking today that law schools only provide two benefits. The two benefits are prestige and the ability to take the bar exam. Prestige is only for maybe the top 5 law schools.

    I was shocked about how little mileage there was for someone going to a top 15 law school, like me, so maybe top 5 opens all kinds of doors. If you do not get prestige, the only other benefit is you are eligible to take the bar exam. So if most people are only getting the ability to take the bar exam, it really does not matter where you go.

    Most clients would not know the difference from someone that graduated from an unaccredited law school at the bottom of the pile or someone that graduated from a school that was ranked number 8. The lower down in rank, the more compelling argument for you to find the cheapest school to attend.

    Every law school teaches the same material, more or less. And, the vast majority of law school teaching is utterly useless applied to actual practice. The only thing someone graduating law school is prepared to do upon graduation is to commit malpractice.

    Law sucks. The profession is so screwed. I advise everyone considering law school to run. If you must attend, go to the very top or go dirt cheap. Almost everyone would be better off if a law degree was more like a small, inexpensive course like the real estate licensee process. If you could take the $100K or more that is forked over to the law schools, and use it to start your own practice, that would be a lot better than what they are doing today.

    I truly hate law schools. The current system has to be one of the most costly, inefficient, useless ways to educate lawyers.

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  5. Angel:

    I am posting today on similar issues, based on my experience.

    I agree, that more law is learned in a PMBR or a BARBRI course than in a cost prohibitive Law School.

    As for the Soratic Method and learning how to "Think Like a Lawyer" I really don't think my 4th tier School really did that.

    All I have is debt now for almost 50 years, counting my college loans, and it grows at a compounded and frightful rate now, and will be almost 2 million dollars by the time I am 70 and the loans are discharged or "Abated"

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  6. Why is it that so many people push for the current form of each states law bar exam as a way of licensing. I have never used any material for actual law practice that I obtained from or learned from a bar exam. Like some of the law school teachings I found the bar material are best discarded upon commencing actual law practice.

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  7. Looks like someone's account has been hacked. We all know the real Angel would not write something like this...

    "I believe that there should be as many options as possible for citizens. I believe that the government should not subsidize or provide assistance to students seeking student loans. I believe that the inflation in tuition is a direct result of government programs designed to educate Americans. I believe that banks should bear the risk in lending money to students who choose worthless degrees. And when they loan money to someone with a worthwhile degree, they should charge a substantial amount of interest. Lastly, I believe that all Americans should be entitled to bankruptcy--as it's just as much the creditor's fault as it is the debtors. Both parties should live with the consequences of their foolhardy decisions.

    Lastly, I very strongly hold that college education should not be a requirement to finding a professional job, and that college has become the new high school--since high school so ill prepares our youth to enter the work force.


    In short, our unique blend of capitalism with socialist infusions of government guaranteed money is more evil and more detrimental than capitalism or socialism, or even communism, alone. All that we have achieved is plenty of welfare for the rich, and nothing comparable for the poor."

    It is too grounded in the real world and not idealistic enough about the great good the government can do for us all.

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  8. What have I said previously that contradicts this portion of the post?

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  9. Schools can continue to raise tuition at these rates because the students can get student loans guaranteed by Uncle Sam. If the student defaults on the loan, it's not the school's problem. They already have their money; it's the US Taxpayers' problem, that is why the student loans are not dischargable; it's politically impossible. And I join the chorus, why should the US Taxpayer be on the hook for a student's poor education choice?

    A good start would be to reduce the amount of the US guarantee to 50% of the tuition costs and make the schools post the other 50% Then make the schools' portion of the loans dischargable in bankruptcy. That way the schools will have some skin in the game, with the absolute incentive of graduating students who will be able to pay the loans back.

    That will have an across the board salutary effect on everyone, undergraduate and graduate alike. I am not opining on the validity of a double major in Religion/Women's Studies (and I don't believe it's the Feds place to put more value on one subject over another), but if you want to go that route at least you will have to convince a school's student loan officer you will have a colorable chance of getting a job and paying that money back.

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  10. I think it would be fair that, when upon defaulting on student loans and the gov't has paid off the original lender, the gov't should freeze the amount owed by the student to the gov't to that number, and at an interest rate equal to the loans given to the banking industry and over a reasonable time period - say 20-40 years. And at no time can the interest increase the amount owed by maybe 1.5-2 times that new number. The schools are paid, the student is re-structured, and the tax payer gets paid back slowly but surely assuming they actually find work.

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  11. If you don't want student loan debt problems, don't borrow the money. As soon as loans are no longer easy to obtain, every dope in the world will be SCREAMING that they are being denied the opportunity to better themselves. Too funny.

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  12. Kittens, back in the day (1981-85) the absolute MAXIMUM you could borrow was $10k. My four year tuition at a private college was $15k all in. See the corrollation between the ability to obtain guaranteed money and tuition? The two are inextricably tied.

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  13. @ 8:37

    You're dumb and I hate you.

    - 4:46

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  14. There is no need for law schools, they are simply profit-driven enterprises that teach nothing useful. An apprenticeship would be a better path to this profession. But the problem remains, that mass numbers of people want to get into this profession, and there aren't enough jobs for all of them.

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    Replies
    1. Would the masses be able to tolerate the apprenticeship, though? Those that are disciplined, focused and have an interest in the field during their apprenticeship would prepare to take the bar. The others would be able to move on to other fields without carrying a $50k-$200k debt burden, and without depressing the field for those who become attorneys.

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