Thursday, October 13, 2011

Second thoughts

I got an interesting email from someone who was admitted to a school in the bottom half of the T-14 (unfortunately distinctions that at one time were products of nothing but snobbish obsessiveness are becoming pragmatically significant in terms of decision making) last winter, but who decided to defer his admission for a year for reasons not related to law school per se.  In the months since, he has encountered the David  Segal NYT pieces, other mainstream criticisms of law school, and the scam blog movement.  This is all giving him a number of second and third thoughts, to the point where he's put together a bunch of spreadsheets which attempt to measure the long term costs and benefits of going to the law school to which he's been admitted, based on both how much it's likely to cost and what he's been able to find out about what their graduates actually do.

Among other things he's been taken aback by the fact that borrowing $90K to go to this school could easily end up costing him $300K, once one adds up both the interest charges he'll end up paying on the loans and the cash he and his wife plan to spend (she's going to work while he's in school) to pay for law school while he's enrolled.

Beyond this, he's noticed how much his views on the whole process have changed simply as a product of the fact that he ended up stepping back from the whole application scramble before he actually made the leap:

I think that the reason why 0Ls continue to perceive law school as an attractive option regardless of the costs or employment realities, is that by the time they get information regarding the employment picture, most have already invested a great deal of physical and emotional energy into law school.  They've probably spent months studying for and then taken the LSAT, invested time in researching law schools and taken the employment materials they've provided at face value, found professors to write them letters of recommendation, drafted and revised their personal statements numerous times, and finally sent out their applications only to wait with great anxiety about whether or not they would be accepted.  If they're anything like me, during this whole process, they've also looked back at their college education and all the effort they put into performing well as meaningfully leading up to the moment where they could enter professional school and embark on a rewarding and lucrative career path.  This, paired with the fact that they are constantly being encouraged by classmates, professors, pre-law advisers, and family members (and more or less all of society) to continue their education and pursue a professional degree, deters them from considering that a legal education might be the biggest mistake of their lives.  It was only after I had finished sending out all of my applications in mid-December that I began to casually look more closely at the perils of pursuing a law degree (and by this time I had already been imagining the "perceived" rewards of pursuing a legal career for nearly 12 months). 

The natural attachment that develops from being so committed to a vision of the future is difficult to break away from, even after you become aware of how unrealistic such a future may be. Perhaps many 0Ls simply get the information too late, after they've already invested a great deal of time and effort into the whole law-school process.  At that point, I think it becomes all too easy for most students to simply turn a blind eye to the red-flags being raised by bloggers and in the media.  I suspect if the amount of transparency you (and many others) are demanding becomes the norm, then the number of students seeking to pursue a legal education will rapidly decline.  If many students were deterred before they invested a year or so of their lives in the admissions process (that is, deterred at the outset by the dismal employment numbers law schools would be required to make public on their websites), then I suspect many more would be less inclined to bother with putting in the effort of applying at all and, hopefully, not find themselves attached to a romanticized vision of a future in the legal profession. 
 This seems to me a very plausible account of what could be called the social psychology of the law school admissions process.  Indeed I would add that this general process tends to continue throughout a student's first semester of law school, when engagement and optimism are naturally at their peaks.

For years, I taught a two-semester Property course, and it was always very striking how different the atmosphere was in the classroom on the first day of the second semester.  The students had gotten their grades, which for a great number of them meant that for what at that point had been a couple of years of engagement with certain dreams of the future was coming to what must have felt like an abrupt end.  (And this was before the present crisis.).  For a great many potential law students, it would be all to the good if they could subject themselves to something like that harsh form of reality therapy before they had sunk a semester's worth of costs in law school -- and perhaps more significantly before they had made a commitment to a path that for reasons of social psychology becomes harder to leave the further one walks down it.

Further thought: It also occurs to me that the financial investment people make in the application process might be quite significant in at least a psychological sense.  How much does an LSAT prep course run? Then there are the costs of taking the test, of applying to schools, of maybe visiting a couple . . . And we know that people tend not to be "rational" (in the econ sense of rational) about sunk costs.

57 comments:

  1. Exactly. The schools know this already, even if their shills are unwilling to admit it publicly.

    Kill the fantasies before the first tuition payment is made.

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  2. I remember going through this same thing. I was accepted into a T6 law school on scholarship and thought I had it made. This was in 2009, when the employment stats were from c/o 2008 and still showed close to 100% employment at my school. Even the "word on the street" on forums like TLS and Autoadmit said that even with the recession I should be able to get a biglaw job no problem. I didn't read ATL, which was publishing the first layoff notices around that time.

    The first inkling I had that things were not okay in paradise was my first week on campus, when the current crop of rising 2Ls was going through the 2010 OCI bloodbath (their words). Still, 70% biglaw placement seemed pretty good to me. I figured I could just place in the top half and still get a job. The weight of all the optimistic information far outweighed that one data point of bad. Stuck squarely in the 1L bubble, I barely spoke to any 2L or 3L students all semester, and didn't hear stories about no offers.

    Well, I placed around median, made some bad bidding mistakes, and now am sitting here with 125K in student loan debt, no biglaw job, and no other avenues to get employment because everything is so goddamn competitive now. I will probably end up getting shuttled into the school-sponsored fellowship that they desperately try to keep secret. Not only that, I am anathema to administrators and faculty. People still think we place 99% and wonder how much of a loser I must be to not get a job. I though I had it made, but now I'm just a chump.

    I remember another T14 school offered me a full scholarship to defer a year and work. I turned them down because my scholarship was pretty good, my current school was ranked higher, and I didn't know what to do with my history degree from a big state school. In retrospect, I should have just worked retail for the year.

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  3. The stigma that attaches to walking away after the first semester, or the first year, is significant. This is, I expect, particularly the case if there is no Plan B in place. No Plan B is, of course, the reason a great number of law students are in law school in the first place: they'd barely formed a Plan A, and figured that laying low for three years would take care of it. This approach-- law school as the terminal liberal arts degree-- was always horrible, but in the past it merely led to career dissatisfaction. Now it is the path to financial ruin, and that is the reason that the increase in law school seats is a kind of fraud that should no longer be tolerated. It is a knowing misrepresentation made for financial gain by the involved institutions, pure and simple.

    Last night one of my undergrads asked me if all lawyers make "about a million dollars a year." He was sincere-- he knew that lawyers may start out at some lower rate, but seriously thought that after ten years or so in practice a middle to high six figure salary was a realistic expectation for someone practicing law. It breaks my heart. At one time, not long ago, law school really was a merit based way for bright people who were prepared to work hard for long hours to prepare for an intellectually satisfying career which would provide a comfortable middle-class (or even upper middle class) living. Hell, if you picked your spots you might even do some good in the world. Man, is that horsie out of the barn.

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  4. That's a great email and completely plausible. Most 0Ls are people who were high-school seniors only 3-4 years ago and have never held a full-time job, lived on their own, etc. Plus, the vast majority probably do not know any lawyers very well, let alone lawyers who are young law-firm associates. So they (and their parents) have completely unrealistic ideas about what law school can do for them. It's like thinking you're buying $100k worth of stock in Apple only to later discover that you spent the same amount to buy a bunch of Pick-6 lottery tickets.

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  5. I have a cousin who is a rather talented painter. Not houses, but actual art. He could paint part time and make enough to support himself.

    Somehow, he's been convinced that going to a TTT law school is a step in the right direction.

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  6. BL1Y: Have you tried to talk some sense into him?

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  7. "I am anathema to administrators and faculty. People still think we place 99% and wonder how much of a loser I must be to not get a job"

    Here's something which doesn't get much mention on this site: in any other area of study, university professors generally stay in touch with at least some of their former students, and whilst they're more likely to do so with able students, it's not like their students who go into other fields simply drop off the face of the planet for them. In law, the students of law professors that don't go into law, or even just do average at exams, are dead to them, seemingly automatically labelled loosers in their minds. Sure, legal professionals thrive on networking with over-acheivers as way of themselves over-acheiving, and law teachers aren't too different, but the contrast with other areas of study is stark.

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  8. LawProf, your students had their first semester grades by the first day of second semester?
    At my TT school, we didn't get our grades until after the deadline to drop out passed, 2-3 weeks into the 2nd semester.

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  9. 7:29: Yeah I think we're a bit unusual in that regard. CU has historically had a low faculty to student ratio so a month to turn in grades seemed reasonable, although sometimes faculty miss the deadline (including me, sad to say, although I haven't since I achieved enlightenment). At Michigan we didn't get some of our first year grades until March IIRC.

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  10. Ahhh. Yeah I'm not sure how much student faculty came into it at ours, because it was like clockwork - time to drop out passed (1-2 weeks into the semester) and the week after that we got our grades. It's a kind of crummy system since I'm sure there's plenty of people that would drop out after their first semester once they saw how well they did or didn't do, but at that point they just dropped another 15k on tuition so why not just do it: the effort spent on that second semester then fuels the incentive of going for a 2nd year and so on and so forth.

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  11. FOARP you are making generalizations that are based only on your impressions. How can you reasonably pronounce it a rule that in other fields "university professors generally stay in touch with at least some of their former students", while law professors do not? What University professors are you talking about-- those who teach undergrads, those who are advisers to graduate students? In the case of graduate advisers in, say, arts and sciences, the programs are specifically designed to have the student and professor in a one-on-one relationship as the student proceeds through the program. If a student continues in the field, he/she will stay close to the adviser who will be responsible for introduing that student to others in academia. That adviser, depending upon how popular he or she is, and his or her own inclinations, will take on however many students as mentees as would be reasonable without being spread too thin. That is usually not a large number. Even if the student takes another path in life, the intensity of the connection (if things work right, and they often do not) will make it much more likely that the student and adviser will have contact later on. That experience is built into the program in a way that it is not for college, law school, or business school. I know the point here is to make everything about law school evil, but your blanket statement does not comport with my observations and experiences.

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  12. I have always thought that the first year of law has freestanding academic value. Award of a non-practicing degree for successful completion of 1L work might alleviate many of the problems noted in the early commrnts to this post.

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  13. That was a well written email.

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  14. I have always thought that the first year of law has freestanding academic value. Award of a non-practicing degree for successful completion of 1L work might alleviate many of the problems noted in the early commrnts to this post.

    I'm not sure I agree. Perhaps it's simply because I studied both hard sciences and philosophy as an undergrad, or perhaps because I actually took my studies as an undergrad seriously and did well, but I found the first year of law school to be a joke. It was absurdly easy (and I say this as someone who also worked ~25 hrs/week and pulled a 4.1 GPA that first year). A mix of half-assed philosophizing, rule-memorizing, and childish social science pontificating was not hard to read.

    Perhaps because we now live in a world where even getting an undergraduate degree means almost nothing in terms of your critical thinking skills and knowledge base, you need to run the gauntlet of 1L just to prove that you're capable of reading and thinking at least a bit.

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  15. "I have always thought that the first year of law has freestanding academic value."

    At what cost, fool, at what COST? Your comments are always so out of touch. Try to follow along.

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  16. I don't think he meant it as justifying the cost, but maybe as a way for people have already fallen for it to drop out without feeling like.... well..... drop-outs and instead maybe people who realized they are making a bad investment but at least got SOMETHING out of it.

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  17. Most law students go through a special Kübler-Ross model during the course of their studies.

    0L/1L stage:

    1. Denial: This is mostly fueled by false employment data. 0L students presented with scam-blogs and a few media articles refuse to believe that law school is a losing game. They will deny these blogs and stories and rely on school published numbers, or they will deny the blogs and articles because they think they are different and will succeed against the odds because they have been successful as an undergrad.

    2L-3L-Bar Results

    2. Bargaining phase: The law student's confidence is rattled. 1L year has passed and OCI did not yield a job, and possibly yielded few or no interviews. The rising 2L is starting to get a sense that things aren't what they seem, but they trudge on.

    "I'm only in the top 10% of my class," they say. "I just need to keep working hard improve my 2L grades to get into the top 5% of the class and then I'll get a shot at 3L interviews."

    Others (not in the top 10%) say that they will get a job through non-paid internships, networking, publishing an article, etc.

    It's now 3L year, and despite being in the top 5%, the rising 3L strikes out at 3L interviews. For the other students, unpaid internships and networking aren't opening many doors. Nobody is hiring. "That's okay," the students say, "I just need to pass the bar exam, and then I will be employable."

    3L ends, bar prep begins, the bar exam passes, and students send out hundreds of resumes, yet there still aren't any jobs. Some extremely optimistic bargainers will attempt to open up their own shop.

    ANGER

    6-9 months after graduation those first loan payments become due. Only now does the anger set in, no job, huge bills combine to make students feel angry at being tricked into going to law school.

    Acceptance:

    5-6 years after your 1L year, as you work at Starbucks or some other job, it sets in. YOu gambled and lost, the only thing you have to show for it is a plaque on the wall and monthly payments between 1000-2000 dollars a month for the next 25 years...

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  18. I think a non-practicing degree stating that you didn't attend law school at all would be far more cost effective and reflective of that student's intelligence.

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  19. I cannot begin to tell you how many people considering law school have referred to the NYT pieces, scamblogs, and articles such as this as "scaremongering".

    The thinking is that the examples cited are simply at the margins and that its simply implausible that a law degree could pay less than $80,000 and that, even then, this situation is not meaningfully any different from any other professional degree program these days (while this last point is objectively true, it's emphatically not a counterargument against the mountaining evidence re: the usefullness of a J.D.).

    It really truly puzzles me where this larger cultural veneration for law school comes from. It obviously has nothing to do with the legal profession itself, which is held in widespread contempt.

    Maybe that's a part of it: because we hate lawyers so much, we respect the mechanism by which people become them.

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  20. I was having a discussion about just this point this morning with some of my 3L classmates.

    One of them said that he heard some associates a firm where he spent the summer remarking that the conventional wisdom used to be, "If you don't get A's in 1L, then just drop out." but that now the conventional wisdom has been made, "If you don't get A's in 1L and then do great 2L with grades and Law Review and Moot Court, then drop out before 3L".

    Several of my classmates expressed disbelief, but I'd say that the calculation may even be worse than that -- I'd believe there are a large proportion of people for whom it would be worth it to drop out with only one semester left. Even saving that last semester's tuition would be worth dropping out.

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  21. well-written email but here's the tldr:

    sunk costs make it psychologically difficult to turn away from a bad investment.

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  22. @ 10:55 additionally when the negative facts you hear seem incredible, even if their true.
    For example, I heard the same advice that Breezywheeze heard once and I thought to myself "That is ridiculous. I have met plenty of people who were not straight A students and they survived."
    It probably was good advice, but it's so far against normal experience that you can't bring yourself to believe it unless you see it for yourself. Unfortunately you can't see it for yourself until it's too late.

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  23. Argh I used "their" instead of "they're". That's going to bug me forever, even if I adopt a whole new internet personality.

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  24. The comments on this article are particularly telling: http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/law_school_grads_take_this_six-question_survey_on_finding_that_first_job/

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  25. Unfortunately you can't see it for yourself until it's too late.

    When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

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  26. @VBP-

    I think pursuing more education to achieve higher earning power and a middle class lifestyle is right at the heart of the American Dream. As a child of boomers, I have no doubts that from 1950-1980 this was absolutely true.

    However, the combination of Generation Unenligtened Exceptionalism (DOB 1980 forward), the co-opting of student loans by finance capitalists, and 30 years of propaganda is a recipe for a brilliant consumer fraud scheme.

    What scamblogging and Professor Campos are doing is cutting at the heart of people's optimism and forcing them to realize the unprecedented level of brainwashing they have. That's a big time red pill. It's gonna take a ton of time. But I believe it's a fight worth fighting.

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  27. Why isn't the media asking the tough questions here? Every interview with a law school dean or professor seems like such a softball interview.

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  28. That is a good point about undergrads. I exited law school 20 years ago after 1 semester. I didn't make the grades for big law and frankly had no interest in any other area. My parents ragged on me hard for dropping out. I waited tables while I worked on my alternate plan. Now, 20 years later, I am so grateful that I bagged law school. I am considered an expert in my field and make much more than most (but certainly not all) lawyers. My hours are reasonable, too!

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  29. Here in California I know many grads from State Bar-accredited law schools, some of whom have law jobs, and some don't. None of them are psychologically damaged by the experience - even though the tuition is 1/2 of ABA schools, even the one's without jobs don't seem bitter that they gave it a shot. Are these students just more jaded about ROI?

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  30. Do you know how much it cost for them to go?
    I think a lot of the bitterness here comes from the sheer amount of time it will take to pay off the debt - if people were only in 30-40k in debt I don't think people would be nearly as angry (although still angry)

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  31. Forgive me for beating a decayed horse, but I still don't think anyone has really given a satisfactory answer to this question:

    What difference will it make if the focus is on the reporting and not the easy money for loans? Law schools are NEVER going to be unable to fill 250 1L seats each year because there are more than enough folks who think they're going to be the exception to whatever negative numbers are out there.

    Is it just that then everyone will feel better because they can then truly point the finger at the students/graduates and say "you have no excuse--you should have known better..."?

    It's still going to be the same number of un/under-employed JDs. It's still going to be the same amount of loans/debt that needs to be forgiven at some point (death or discharge...whichever). The law schools are still going to get the same amount of tuition, which is going to continue to increase along with everything else, and education in particular.

    Take a look at any of the school statistics on their ABA sheets. No matter how good the advice is to drop out after 1L or 2L, almost nobody is doing it.

    The numbers still seem like a red herring to me. That's not to say there isn't merit in the claim that the schools should not be putting out bogus numbers, it's just to say that it won't change the outcome.

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  32. My take on the whole matter is that I am willing to accept the fact that I chose law as a career and I chose poorly. Even though I think my law school lied to me about employment numbers and that half should be closed down.

    My real issue is with the loans and their predatory nature. I should be allowed to refinance, they should be dischargeable in bk, interest should not capitalize, etc... NONE of these items were in my promissory note when I signed it.

    I would love to just hand back my law degree, have the debt relieved. In the alternative, a refinance ability as mentioned above. Either way, if given a break on the interest, I would, in turn, start a business or something...even non-law related. I hate this profession and most the people in it.

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  33. @12:27,

    The cost varies by school one of the more prominant in SoCal (Univ. of W. LA) charges roughly $68,000 for the program. In the SF Bay Area JFKU is at about that, while Empire is around $55,000...

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  34. @1:34

    Total or are there living expenses to be considered as well? It's slightly cheaper than the accredited ones, so it might be more plausible for the lower ones to actually pay off that debt. But that's just my idea as to why they may feel less bitter.

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  35. @Avor:

    Even if the market mechanism fails as completely as you seem to think, the employment numbers could be used as evidence to show members of Congress or representatives of the Department of Education that law school is a far worse gamble than when they went to law school half a century ago.

    Why wouldn't student loan programs and accreditation change dramatically in light of facts showing how expensive law school is, and how few law graduates are capable of paying their loans back without assistance?

    More succinctly, the numbers are useful to all stakeholders. You won't change the terms of student loan financing or get state legislatures to close law schools without showing that it's not the road to upward mobility that its defenders will claim, at least in the case of 70%+ of U.S. law schools.

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  36. Completely agree with Avor (and @1:03)- I have been beating the same dead horse for years. The focus should be on the $$ (which is what truly damages lives). John, I think your conclusion is a bit naive.

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  37. @1:54 p.m.:

    Is that because you think Congress or state governments will slash principal obligations and change tuition based on anecdotal evidence, and real employment figures are just gilding the lily?

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  38. Has anyone successfully convinced someone to abandon ship? I feel like I have an moral responsibility to forward this blog to a few buddies of mine to get them to at least reconsider while they still have time, but I feel like I have neither the heart to tell them they're chasing the wrong dream nor the certainty that doing so WOULDN'T cause them to further entrench themselves in the law school pit.

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  39. No John, it is because I don't think Congress will do a damn thing until they are consistently bashed over the head. And even then you have to cross your fingers....

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  40. @ 2:13,

    I convinced two people I work with not to go to law school. We work the same job (which should have been their first red flag), and they thought that having a jd would give them an edge. I walked them through the math, and they were convinced. It helps that we work in the finance industry.

    If it don't make dollars it don't make sense.

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  41. I convinced one person, although it helped that she was hearing the same negative things from several sources.

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  42. I conduct admissions interviews for my alma mater, a T14 school. Each and every time, I tell these very young people, the best and the brightest, but they should absolutely not go to law school.

    I am almost certain that not a single one of them has taken my advice.

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  43. @2:13, I convinced one person who had finished a semester of 1L to give it up and not go back. She was someone who was over 40, going to law school thinking it would give her an edge in getting hired for whatever job she was looking for.

    I asked her a very simple question, which was whether she honestly believed that there would be a job or jobs out there not available to her at the time that would be available after law school that would justify the time and money costs of law school.

    This approach won't work with 0Ls or 1Ls fresh out of undergrad. On the occasions I meet OLs or 1Ls with little life experience, I explain the risks and try to extract the particular version of the law school fantasy they have created in their heads and then do my best to beat that fantasy to death. Usually it does not work because the fantasy is too strong and the truth is too ugly and uncomfortable to accept. Which is understandable, because telling an 0L or 1L that law school is a mistake that they will regret is something like telling a five year old on Christmas morning that Santa did not slide down the chimney to bring the presents. I suppose there is a certain level of cruelty in telling someone that everything they have been told is true is in fact a lie.

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  44. @8.02 - Actually, I was comparing those I knew in physics, and the experiences of many of my fellow patent professionals on the difference between studying in the sciences and studying law.

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  45. @1:42

    Those figures are tuition and fees only not living expenses. I had also forgotten to mention San Francisco Law School the oldest of the State Bar schools (not to be confused with USF or GGU.)

    I think perhaps the kind of people who go to ABA schools (including my T4) have a "middle class" (everyone thinks they're middle class) sense of entitlement to a good job and a nice house with comparatively little effort.

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  46. @FAORP I accept your experiences, but they have not been my experiences or those of relatives and friends who have gone to law school. I think this all depends upon the law school, the department in the university, and the individuals involved.

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  47. Sorry I got your initials wrong!

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  48. To the individual who sent the email, I hope you consider sticking with your decision to go to law school. People who are capable of accurately pinpointing the risks of attending law school (or making any $100K+ educational investment) are the ones that are most likely to excel and enjoy the profession.

    The pressure to succeed in your first year (because there is a lot riding on it) can be exhilarating, and pushes you to be your best. If you enoy reading and writing, and you are up for a challenge, it can be a great year.

    And remember, despite the fact that there is a glut of lawyers in this country, there is a genuine shortage of ones that speak and write with clarity (and are ethical, etc. etc.). If you've worked on those two things all your life, it would be a waste to stop short now if you are interesting in making a profession of it.

    This blog, and warnings about law school in general, should not aim to deter people who have the talent and interest to make a great career of it.

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  49. Thanks for saying that those of us who haven't found work were not pushed to be our best, not up for a challenge, do not enjoy reading and writing, do not write or speak with anything resembling clarity, have no sense of ethics, or didn't have talent and interest about it.

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  50. Law school in general (and especially first year) were awful. Are you insane? What is enjoyable and challenging about frantically trying to memorize incredibly boring cases and then having some toolish prof put you on the spot to spout out summaries of them? (and yes, I went to a vaunted "t14," it's the same everywhere. Bleh.

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  51. vbp asked -- Why does the public venerate law schools? I'm going to speak for the public since I'm not in law and held opinions about the field that were pretty standard. I think public opinion has been formed by movies like The Firm or even the old movie Paper Chase. Then there's the television shows like Law and Order... This is what many people think law school is and leads to, a highly paid, exciting field. It's what I thought law school was, I'm in a different field entirely, stumbling upon this blog due to my interest in the crazy escalating costs of education, and what that cost is doing to young people who are finding themselves starting life deeply in debt. I'm also an NYT subscriber and that's how I learned about the law school scam and the scam blogs. Without the articles in the New York Times, I still wouldn't have a clue.

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  52. @6:23 Writing and memorizing random outlines for legal theories and cases you will only use 1% of, maximum, in real legal practice (exhilarating); taking some pointless obscure fact pattern test of which you receive zero feedback from, and simulates nothing you will do in the real practice of law (takes great talent); reading and discussing cases from a century ago and the dissenting opinions while the teacher gets comments from the same 3 gunners in every class about what the procedural history was while other students are forced to figure out on their own what they are supposed to know via the Socratic method - ya law school really pushes people to their limits, the limits of their sanity and patience for such pointless, boring, unnecessary, inefficient, and EXPENSIVE "training". For a great career of counting every 6 minutes of your life sitting in a cubicle reading endless documents for a case that will ultimately settle.

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  53. Why do people say "my T14 school" or "my T4" school? Why not just say "Northwestern" or "Columbia"? Do people think they really need the anonymity, or is it done because people don't want to look like they are bragging? Or is it done for some other reason? I honestly don't understand it.

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  54. @ 9:46

    Awesome you pointed that out because I used to wonder the same thing. But then I realized the name of the school doesn't matter unless it's Harvard or Yale. What's important is the ranking and T4 is shown because everyone needs to see how awesome that person is. And I would agree that T4 is pretty damn awesome.

    As a side note, I think the T14 line is an interesting one. It's like saying that even though Georgetown isn't top 10 it's still cool enough to be included with the other big dogs.

    That's just my stank on it. I'm an engineer who's not happy with his profession either and thinking of getting into the litigation side of patent law if I can get into a school I can justify the expense for (in my own mind). T4 would be super fantastic though unrealistic.

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  55. I decided to become a lawyer when I was in Junior High. Pretty much everything I did after that point was directed towards the goal of going to law school. This was unfortunate, because I also happened to be very good in math and science.

    By the time someone becomes a senior in college, the die is already cast. While there are those who really don't know what they want to do, there are others who have had the goal of going to law school since their freshman year. For example, just about every political science major has law school as a goal.

    Law school transparency won't do much. By the time one takes the LSAT, one's course is pretty well set. High school and college counsellors need to do their jobs and present accurate information to students before the damage is done.

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