Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wall of Shame: Above the Law and David Lat

Above the Law brings on the dumb while leading the lambs to slaughter. Can't say I'm surprised.

Thank you to First Tier Toilet and Rose Colored Glasses for bringing our attention to a shameful post at Above The Law entitled “In Defense of Going to Law School” written by Yale Law grad and BigLaw lover David Lat. No, I will not link to the post. I didn’t bother visiting Above the Law to read the original post in its entirety because I’m already too disgusted by what is apparently going on over there. Here is what David Lat wrote according to Knut at First Tier Toilet.

David Lat makes the following five points for the defense of going to law school:
1) "If a law degree is like a Biglaw lottery ticket, remember: some people still win."
2) "There are many great career options in law outside of large law firms." He includes "midsize or small law firms, federal government (e.g., the DOJ Honors Program), state government, clerkships (federal and state), fellowships, non-profits / public interest, and in-house (yes, even for new graduates). And that’s without even touching upon the many career alternatives for attorneys — all the things you can do with a law degree that don’t involve practicing law" after looking at placement data from Cornell Law, of all places (a school whose graduates are hurting badly).
3) "What else are you going to do with yourself?"
4) "Not everyone graduates with debt (or with as much debt as some people think)."
5) You get to put “Esq.” after your name.

Knut has an excellent take down of Lat’s law school apologist piece, so go over to First Tier Reality to read all of it. I really have nothing more to add to Knut’s rebuttal. The only thing I disagree with is that Knut believes Lat and Crittendon at the National Jurist have good intentions. No. No, they do not. Crittendon is a shill whose legal rag depends on the sponsorship and advertising of disgraceful toilets such as Seton Hall and Cooley. David Lat lives in a privileged world built on superficial factors such as the knowing the who’s who in Biglaw, rankings, and being able to put “Esq.” next to his name. These guys are too ignorant and elitist to have any good intentions besides self-serving their huge egos.

Regular readers of this blog know that I am not a fan of Above the Law and rarely stop by the site unless another scam blog or BIDER reader alerts me to an interesting post. I have never been a fan of Above The Law because the site has always been nothing more than an elitist Biglaw gossip and rumor mill ready to humiliate the next law student or lawyer who sends a tactless email. Laughing at other people’s misfortunes has never really been my thing, even when my life seemed pretty good at a T14. Above the Law encompasses everything that I’ve ever disliked about law school and the legal profession. As Knut pointed out in his post and many times before, Above the Law is completely out of touch with the majority of law school graduates and lawyers. They have their heads too far deep into the insignificant daily dramas of Biglaw to care about anything else.

Above the Law’s saving grace is Elie Mystal who continues to have his wages garnished to pay back the $150k he owes to Harvard Law. He occasionally reports on the law school scam and is the most sympathetic of the Above the Law writers to unemployed graduates and student loan victims.

I could care less with most of the gossip Above the Law publishes daily. I just think it’s a shame that one of the most widely read legal publications on the web is filled with so much immaturity, elitist (oftentimes racist) comments, and posts that aren’t based in reality for the majority of the legal profession or the world for that matter. It makes me very thankful that the scamblogging community exists as a much needed reality based legal community to counter all the lies and false hope out there being peddled by the mainstream legal media.


  1. David Lat's analysis is flawed and he is the biggest flame on the law blogs. Basically his 5 points to going to law school can be attacked as follows:

    1) A lottery ticket costs a $1. The payoff is millions. The risk/return is acceptable in the lottery scenario. If a Biglaw lottery ticket cost $150K and the prize was a $160K/year Biglaw job at the same odds as winning the lottery, the risk/return is plainly unacceptable.

    2) Mr. Lat's alternatives are just as, if not, more competitive than for Biglaw jobs. Consider that before the economy went to the shitter, a segment of law students applied exclusively to alternative positions in public interest. Now deferred and unemployed associates/law grads have joined the fray in competing for these jobs. Midlaw does not hire straight out of law school so David Lat listing it as an alternative is out of touch with reality. Small law = shitlaw. As for non-legal jobs, well the consensus among employers is that JD holders are over-qualified and will jump ship if and when the economy recovers.

    3) I would prefer to hustle or do nothing than throw 3 years down the shitter and incur $150K of non-dischargeable debt. What else are you going to do? Come on, this is a weak argument.

    4) David Lat's parents are medical professionals. They paid for his Harvard UG degree and Yale JD. Not everyone has wealthy parents or sugar daddies/mommas to pay for law school.

    5) Great so going to law school entitles you to be a bigger douche by allowing you to put Esq. at the end of your name. Here is a practitioner's tip: As a lawyer with over 15 years of experience, it is not customary to put Esq. at the end of your name, especially when corresponding to/with other attorneys. It makes you look like a bigger douche than you probably already are.


  2. I don't put much stock in what a spoiled, sheltered 35 year old boy like David Lat has to say about the legal industry. If you look up some of his editorials on the Harvard Crimson, you will see some shameless attacks on homosexuals.

    If you read about how he was "outed" as a poster with the moninker of Article III Girl, you will see a troubled person. Apparently, clerking for federal judges and then as an assistant U.S. Attorney was a big annoyance to David Lat. (He never got over his "snub" from the U.S. Supremes. After all, Harvard grads and Yale JDs are ENTITLED to clerk for the Supremes - especially when their parents paid for the entire experiece!!) He felt the need to post drivel/gossip about federal court judges, i.e. "Super-hotties on the Bench."

    David also constantly salivates over "The Elite", i.e. those USSC law clerks - including the few who did not attend T14 schools.

    Also, when you look at ATL posts, you will often see some of the most vitriolic, hostile, homophobic, racist, and elitist comments on the Internet. This is why I made no comment on any blogs about the "racist Harvard 3L email" that was the cause celebre on ATL a while back. PLENTY of "elite law grads" are racist pigs, who are constantly in self-awe of their own accomplishments while denigrating those from humble backgrounds who worked their ass off to end up with $150K in non-dischargeable debt and NO job prospects.

  3. The scambloggers should not link to Above the Law. We do a much better job dissuading people from attending law school.

  4. I've been a lawyer since 1975; the only time you use "Esq" is when sending a letter to another lawyer. You NEVER put it after your own name.


  5. David Lat can go suck a big bag of elephant dicks.

  6. "Above the Law brings on teh dumb" - Buddy, you can't call someone dumb and in the same sentence spell the word "teh" incorrectly.

  7. Frum and teh City: CHECK YOU MEMES

  8. Frum.... fixed it. Hardknocks must not have proofread. Oops. "Check your Memes? " What?

  9. I wrote "teh dumb" on purpose. It wasn't a mistake.

  10. OOOPS. Your humor was lost on me. Should I change it back?

  11. get to put esq. behind your name?

    Nope. I'm a lawyer, licensed to practice in two states, but working in a non-legal job and my workplace said I cannot use "Esq." behind my name and sort of reprimanded me and several other licensed but not practicing attorneys for doing so. "Name, JD" is also forbidden. Guess the only time I can let the world know that I'm actually an "Esq." is when I pay my electric bill. Pfft. Law school is the biggest joke ever. I would be laughing if I wasn't so angry and bitter over all the money I wasted for absolutely NOTHING. Just so I can sit in a cube, be bossed around by people without law degrees and looked down upon by those with law degrees and be told not to use "Esq." behind my name. Screw the law schools!



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