Friday, March 9, 2012

And that's the way it is

When I was about seven or eight I would watch the CBS Evening News with my father every night after dinner. This was at the height of US involvement in the Vietnam war, around the time of the Tet Offensive, when the anti-war movement in the U.S. was becoming something of a mass movement on college campuses. At that age I was only vaguely aware of all this, but I would follow the war on TV every night, as Walter Cronkite's avuncular voice would introduce in the field segments from intrepid journalists (this was back in the days before the Pentagon had figured out how to properly domesticate the news coverage of our foreign adventures), and once a week there would be a body count: a graphic showing the number of U.S., South Vietnamese, and North Vietnamese/Viet Cong troops killed and wounded during the past seven days.

The numbers were generally something like 178 U.S., 331 South Vietnamese, and 3375 North Vietnamese killed.  Even in my innocent youth it struck me after awhile that these proportions were so much to the disadvantage of our enemies that surely victory must be at hand.  When I asked my father if this wasn't the case he replied casually that the government simply made those numbers up.  This came as quite a shock, but of course when I became a man and put aside childish things I learned that this had in fact been more or less the case.

Last night the CBS Evening News aired a piece on the law school scam in which I participated.  (For those interested in such things I can report that CBS News did a very thorough job of fact-checking; I spent a lot of time talking with the producer about the precise factual basis for the assertions in the piece).  People can judge for themselves, but in my view the piece was quite well-done, especially when one considers that mainstream opinion outside our little world regarding the economic circumstances of lawyers in general and recent graduates in particular remains largely in the grip of a vision of a vanished world -- to the extent it ever even existed at all -- in which being a lawyer means being a member of a high-paying, economically stable, and socially prestigious profession (yes Americans hate lawyers, but they hate them in part because they supposedly garner such great privileges from their social license to harass and complicate, etc.).

In any case, progress on that front is being made.  There are plenty of days when anyone working on this topic can feel as if he or she is making no headway against an adamantine wall of denial and incomprehension. This isn't one of those, and it's good sometimes to reflect on how far things have come already, not merely on how far there still is to go.  In that spirit I'd like to thank everybody who participates in the conversations on this site, which in their own way are part of a necessary conversation that is starting to happen all across America -- a conversation about social problems which go far beyond the law school scam, but which it in so many ways exemplifies.


  1. Love what you said about used car salesmen vs. law schools.

    Kind of reminds me what Elizabeth Warren said about some of the hideous mortgage products: You could sell a toaster that had a 1 in 4 chance of blowing up, so why could banks sell mortgages that had a 1 in 4 chance of default?

  2. "This came as quite a shock, but of course when I became a man and put aside childish things I learned that this had in fact been more or less the case."

    Best. Line. Ever.

  3. It is a good line, and it sounds like when he wasn't watching Cronkite, Professor Campos was minding his Sunday School lessons: "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." 1 Cor. 13:11.

  4. Which raises a point alluded to a few times in the comment threads here, but worthy of mentioning again: to the extent that law schools locate themselves within religiously-affiliated colleges and universities, shouldn't those law schools have a special obligation to honor the attendant religious principles, e.g., the Golden Rule? If only the legal professoriate would treat its students in the manner it demands to be treated.

  5. Current version of the CBS video/article: "I am not a lawyer," Johnson said. "I'm a server. Lawyers do lawyer things. Lawyers work at law firms. Lawyers do public policy work... Lawyers don't serve pizza."

    Previous version of the video/article: "I am not a lawyer, I'm a server," Johnson said, adding that he believes that even though he has a law degree and PASSED THE BAR. "Lawyers do lawyer things. Lawyers don't serve pizza." (emphasis added)

    I guess the "passed the bar" issue was part of CBS' "thorough job of fact-checking," although the fact-checking did not seem to occur until after the piece aired the first time. Not an insignificant point, as bar passage is required for the types of jobs which you indicate should be the only ones counted. The piece would probably have been less misleading if they alluded to what his bar status was -- whether he failed the first time or decided not to take it right away if that were the case. I believe roughly 85% of NYLS students pass the bar the first time, and the article says he was in the top 25% of his class. I understood the piece to mean he has been out 13 months.

    Please correct me if I am wrong and he is a member of the bar somewhere.

  6. Someone posted a link to the CBS News - comment page on JD Underground. I suggest you all post that you would like to have 60 minutes do a follow up on the Law School Scam movement. I did!

    Here is the link.

  7. Thank you, Paul Campos and CBS. I just posted this on my site for my undergrads interested in law school. Hopefully a short, direct statement of the facts will reach them.
    (Undergrad pre-law teacher)

  8. On the video - does your class only have three students?

    That might explain the high cost of tuition.

  9. @6:43,

    This is why I go after law schools run by religious institutions with vigor. The fact is "non-profit" status is a political designation - for the purposes of evading taxation. An institutionalized religion is not much more than a business entity/political actor.

    However, since these corporations see fit to state that they follow a Christian mission, I rip into these pigs with hot skewers. (Then again, seeing that these institutions are often corrupt, it makes sense that they would own and operate dishonest, morally bankrupt universities and graduate schools.

    If these swine were truly Christian, they would earnestly ask themselves, "WOULD JESUS CHARGE $45,112 PER YEAR IN TUITION?!?!?"

  10. @6:49 that is easy to answer. Look him up.

  11. Thank you for continuing to show the reality of legal education on all levels. I'll admit that 'lawyer' still has that dirty word feel to me and that I will still poke fun and laugh at the evil stereotype associated with it (for example:, but after reading this blog, I am much more sympathetic to lawyers and law students.

  12. It appears that momentum is finally starting to build. It is amazing to me the effect that a few people can have on an industry worth $3 Billion annually. Keep up the good work.

  13. Is the guy in the segment a member of the bar or not? If he is not, that could certainly affect his job status. That should have been discussed in the segment. But he must be. It does not seem likely that they would do the segment without checking that first.

  14. "If these swine were truly Christian, they would earnestly ask themselves, "WOULD JESUS CHARGE $45,112 PER YEAR IN TUITION?!?!?"

    What about undergrad tuition????

    Like someone said in another post, 33K/year for Stanford law? And 50K/year for Stanford undergrad?

    I hate undergrad tuition because it seems like having a ba/bs is becoming a prereq for a lot of jobs…

    people are being forced into college/university because its hard to get a job (anywhere) that will enable you to live. For young people with little or no work experience and no degree what else are you going to do? And in terms of opportunity costs of attending school, if you don’t go to college and you work min. wage jobs (if you can even get enough hours- which you never can) and pay for living expenses, you’re basically a wage slave from the start.

    You can never (rarely) save… you’re living pay check to pay check from the start at 18, 19, 20, 21-forever…

    you may as well waste the couple of years and take on student loan debt (a lot of parents won't pay for sh*t after 18; a lot of them simplify can’t, they can barely support themselves- hence the need for jobs with living wages for young people.) in hopes of getting a better job (even though you might not) because you’re not going anywhere anyway.

    You may as well be a wage slave with a college degree getting your meager wages garnished due to debt .

    …in the end you're in the same position as you started. Except, horaay, you have a college degree that no one cares about or respects.

    Universities continue to charge whatever they want and university education continues to become more of a joke.

    Its all a joke.

  15. I don't know if the CBS fact checking is any better in this piece than in the Vietnam era pieces to which you compare. If you look at the footnotes in the video -- all of the figures and percentages say "source -Professor Paul Campos." an no other sources. If the source is giving wrong or partial or misleading or biased figures, then the piece will be wrong. in The Vietnam piece, they could have footnotes saying "source -U.S. Government", but the information would still be wrong.

  16. It would be unfortunate if CBS did not find a recent law school grade who is under-employed (read: not working as an attorney) and who had actually completed all that is required to work as an attorney (licensed, bar exam, C&F). I know there are many people out there who would have served as an example of the issue. Putting a face on it, so to speak.

    I can think of a few from my graduating class.

  17. @7:45 and 8:47 FWIW he does not appear to be admitted in NY.

  18. Lack of bar admission pretty much destroys this story.

    Since they originally said the pizza server passed the bar, I am assuming that pizza server led them in that direction.

    NYLS - you win again!

  19. Why are you so mad? Prof. Campos is a good source. I wonder why people are discrediting this kid? You think there aren't NYLS grads that have passed the bar and are servers?

    Do you really believe that this kid is only person from NYLS who doesn't have a job practicing law? You think they've all passed the bar and gone on to glory?

  20. Are you comparing Prof Campos to the US govt in Vietnam? Because you have that wrong - in this case the law schools are the US govt and Campos is the Pentagon Papers. hth

  21. You're wondering why people are trying to discredit this graduate? Really? Such people (on this site I'm pretty sure it's just one person) are sociopaths. They'll do pretty much anything to defend their privileges, including trying to destroy anyone who threatens those privileges.

  22. Vis-à-vis:

    "I'm a server. Lawyers do lawyer things. Lawyers work at law firms. Lawyers do public policy work... Lawyers don't serve pizza."

    The ABA has opined that:

    "The lawyer's stock in trade is the sale of legal services, not photocopy paper, tuna fish sandwiches, computer time or messenger services."
    Formal Opinion 93-379 at 9-10.


  23. LawProf:Your Vietnam analogy goes a bit further than you took it. One of the most breathtakingly cynical decisions of my lifetime was the decision by Pres. Johnson and Secretary McNamara, on sending combat troops to Vietnam in the spring of 1965, not to call up the National Guard and reserves, which was called for in all the military contingincy plans. Rather, they decided to fight the war with an army of 18 to 20 year old conscripts (or enlistees, the distinction made very little difference in the 1960's). Why? It's obvious in retrospect. Reserves were older men, not much older but old enough to have wives, children, real jobs and be members of their communities. If they had dragged a bunch of married men from the bosom of their families people might start asking awkward questions. Far better to put the burden on 18 y/o's; they couldn't vote, had no money and no real jobs and nobody much wants them hanging around. Draft the poor sods and it will be years before anyone notices what is going on. And that is exactly what happened. It would be three years and 25,000 deaths before anyone besides a bunch of college students (such as Walter Cronkite) began to ask awkward questions.

    The same thing is going on here, albeit on a less lethal level. We have shifted the entire burden of paying for this massive scam onto young adults because they are the least politicly powerful segment of society and, as your exchange with Mr Clueless Baby Boomer in Atlanta demonstrates, many of their elders really don't like them very much. But as with Vietnam, there comes a time when this will no longer fly. Too many lives are being ruined. So keep pushing. You have already convinced this formerly clueless baby boomer (I was in those crowds of college students you saw on TV in 1968). And you are convincing others.


  24. 9:31 here (and no other posts)

    LawProf, why do you think not passing the bar is unfairly discrediting this graduate?

    Unfair would be that he was too old, didn't rank high enough in his class, should have gone to a better law school, etc.

    Not passing the bar is fair, though I don't know if he passed the bar or not. I am just going on what the other comments have said and the fact that the story was changed.

    It's a crucial bit of information and it discredits the story, period. That doesn't mean, as Crux says, that there aren't hundreds of recent law graduates who have passed the bar who have not found jobs. Those graduates weren't profiled - this one was.

  25. Law Prof-- No one is trying to destroy this young man. I don't know if he has not passed the bar. Someone on here claimed that he is not listed in NY, but he could be admitted somewhere else. The point is that there are many, many other graduates who have passed the bar and are having difficulties who would have been better examples to use for the story. Someone from that category should have been used to avoid any opportunity to divert attention from the problem. That principle is so simple that I really find it hard to believe that he is not admitted.

    Do you honestly believe that whether or not a person has been admitted to the bar has no bearing on their employement status-- or that people viewing this story would not have the right to know that he had not been admitted? Again, I don't think it has been established that he is not admitted.

  26. @10:24,

    The segment said that he graduated in the top 25% of his class. Is that not high enough for you?!?!

    Did he screw up by not graduating in the top 10 percent, or placing in the top ten slots? If anything, this data indicts the law schools further.

    Could you imagine if dental and medical students had to graduate in the top 10%-25% of their class, in order to find a job in their field?

    Regarding his age, he does not appear that old. He might be 30. Is that too old for your liking? Did he screw up by not enrolling in law school at age 22? Get the hell out of here, troll.

  27. While law firms typically do not like to hire 30 year olds - since they prefer to mold young minds - you see PLENTY of medical and dental school students in their 30s and 40s.

    Use his age against him. That will make the average viewer see law school as an even riskier proposition - which is the case.

  28. Nando, can you read???

    I said those were examples of UNFAIR reasons to discredit a law graduate.

  29. Concern troll is concerned.

    The story notes he recently found temp legal work which would seem to indicate he's licensed. Even if he's not so what? Does that make it OK that he incurred $230K in non-dischargeable high interest debt for a useless degree?

  30. @8:30AM - LawProf (and company) are the trim tabs on this one.

  31. If he is working as a lawyer, he is probably admitted. Is Crux the "concern troll"?

  32. I took your earlier comment as facetious. After all, the video mentioned he was in the top quarter of his NYL$ class. Further, he did not appear to be more than 30.

    I have seen law school industry apologists make those arguments, among others, with regards to unemployed lawyers. Likewise, I have seen 35 year law students absolutely excel in law school, and end up with no firm offers.

    Those defending the schools always come up with excuses, and reasons to blame the students, i.e. "He did poorly in law schoo." "She was in the top 10% of her class, but she went to a TTTT." "They should have done some research." "They shouldn't expect someone to hand them a job."

    I half-expect to see shills reduced to the following "arguments": "Yeah, she graduated from Harvard, but she has a HUGE nose and a unibrow." "He went to a top 20 school, but he's overweight." "Her second toe is half an inch longer than her big toe." "So what if he was the managing editor of the law review? Maybe he has terrible people skills or bad breath. Or just a bad attitude."

    Hell, if he failed the bar exam - which is possible - this is another indictment of the law schools. Why should these diploma mills charge $46K per year, when they don't adequately prepare one to pass the bar exam - let alone teach them to practice law?!?! It seems that those who take expensive bar review courses pass the exam at a higher rate than those who forego this option. So what the hell is the point of law school, other than to fill students with mountains of generally useless info, theory, and abstract "principles"?

  33. I don't see people trying to discredit the dude. Ideally, you want your sympathetic law school victim to have bar admission, no criminal record, and so forth.

    This is why I--for example--would make a far less ideal poster child for the law school scam than some others, as I do have a criminal record, and I chose not to take the bar. I'm probably going to wind up doing so, just to say I exhausted all options. I don't think (or like to think) I'm entirely unsympathetic--after all, the "versatility" of the degree is one of the selling points, and I don't think it was unreasonable to have believed I would be able to parley it into a civil service, private compliance, whatever career (nor is it, now, reasonable to believe that I could do much with a license anyway.)

    So if he chose to forgo the bar exam, it does undermine him somewhat, if not totally.

    Further, if he could not *pass* the bar despite being in the top 25% of his class, that's a big problem too, but one I think undermines him rather less--if NYLS' training is so poor that a really good student can't get through the bar exam, what does that say about how they're spending that $45k a year?

    Still, that's all a bunch of nuanced bullshit that doesn't fit neatly into a sound byte. Neither possibility is ideal for engendering the support of the wider public, because the classic "I did everything right!" example, which is not rare, is a far simpler, more direct, and perhaps more pitiful story.

    Then again, dude could totally be licensed. I don't know the guy.

  34. 10:33 here. If you are talking about me Law Prof, it is not concern trolling to hope that the person chosen to be face of the underemployed law graduate was actually eligible to be a lawyer. You think that does not make a difference. I disagree, particularly when there are so many others who could have been put forward. In any event, you present evidence that he is eligible. So, there is no problem.

    And you really ought to get out of this mindset that anyone who does not go along 100 percent with whatever you say is an enemy.

  35. His full name is Kevin Scott Johnson. He passed the New York state bar in February 2011.

    Here is the link:

    Why do I keep having to research this stuff for you?

    I do have worthless classes to attend, you know.

  36. Just in case clarification is necessary, the "why do I keep having to research this stuff for you?" was directed toward the law school apologists, not LawProf or the other commenters.

  37. JC3L: I'm pretty sure I didn't see a single "law school apologist" say anything.

    But he is licensed and such (and thank you for looking that up), so I guess we're arguing over an issue that doesn't exist, but I don't think anyone was trying to "discredit" the story or Mr. Johnson.

  38. (Although it's possible I missed someone who was actually claiming anything as fact or trying to use [putative] lack of bar admission to minimize the problem.)

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. I wonder if the confusion was over passing versus admission. After you pass, you still have to be admitted. People may have been checking the list of admissions.

  41. LP: I don't think people try to discredit folks like this because they're sociopaths.

    It's simple fundamental attribution error. My good stuff is due to hard work and merit, but bad stuff that happens to me is dumb luck or because I was wronged.

    Good stuff that happens to you is the result of privilege, good luck, nepotism, cheating, etc. Bad stuff that happens to you us because you're lazy, stupid, and have a bad attitude.

    I think you're right that it's a defense mechanism to keep us from questioning our own privileges and good fortune. But, I think it's basic psychology, not some malicious intent.

    The bad actors aren't the casual observers who question him, but the people who are in leadership and authority roles who ought to be considering the issue enough to overcome the fundamental attribution error, yet welcome this line of thinking to avoid responsibility.

  42. "I wonder if the confusion was over passing versus admission. After you pass, you still have to be admitted. People may have been checking the list of admissions."


  43. BL1Y: I think you're right about casual observers, who will casually reach for any reason to minimize cognitive dissonance (He should have researched the employment statistics more carefully. He should have taken better care of himself. She shouldn't have married an obvious control freak with a bad temper. Etc.)

    The sociopaths tend to be institutional players who use carefully calculated strategies to maintain an unjust status quo that happens to be favorable to them.

  44. Whenever activists or radicals criticize some institution or other, the institution responds as follows: (1) you are exaggerating; (2) you are ignoring the good we do; (3) you have no workable remedy, or a malign agenda of your own; (4) the people who claim to have been hurt by us are largely responsible for their own predicament.

    These points often have some or, even, considerable merit. In the case of law schools, however, I am not seeing it.

    The kids who are getting fleeced by the law school scam, including 4th tier grads, are brighter and more disciplined than most of their peer group. Their only mistake was thinking that claims made by distinguished professional school academics had more credibility than those of sleazy telemarketers or, that these academics offered a program for training students to achieve some minimal level of competence as a practitioner.


  45. It takes one to know one.

  46. @ dybbuk

    I believe that you have had consistently some of the most prescient statements on this blog, including your observation that usually the brightest and hardworking law students typically are the ones that do the poorest in terms of grades. Additionally, you are right about law schools and their abuse of their societal position. We young 20 somethings have been conditioned from such an early age that the information being disseminated from these institutions is rock solid. But, as Prof Campos points out, they are nothing more than used car salesmen.

  47. We need to pressure the law schools and force them to answer the hard questions through media inquiries. A lot of people said they’d love to see 60 Minutes follow up on yesterday’s CBS News report. Please take a moment and ask them to do so. The more people that draw attention to the issue, the greater the likelihood is that this will happen. Of course, it’s not guaranteed that they will examine the issue, but if everyone affected by the crisis took a moment to encourage them to do so, they would take notice. Below is the link for 60 Minutes and other media organizations. Please contact them and keep up the pressure. Be sure to let CBS’s competitors know that CBS is out in front on this issue. To get involved in advocating for change contact:

    “Silence is not the answer.”

    1)CBS News (60 Minutes, select under the show tab):

    2)ABC News (Nightline and 20/20, select Nightline under the “show or category” tab in order to direct the requests to the same show; use the back button to submit to another show):

    3)NBC News* (Dateline/Rock Center/Up with Chris Hayes/Melissa Harris-Perry, select “Rock Center” under the subject tab & “story idea” for feedback type): (*was unable to submit here due to it not accepting my e-mail address, let me know if you are able to do so)

    4)National Public Radio (NPR) Programs (Choose “All Things Considered” under the “show” tab in order to direct the requests to the same program, then choose “submit a story idea” under “I want to” and “submit a story idea” under the “I would like to” tab):

    5)Public Radio International (PRI)Programs: “This American Life” ( send an e-mail and keep it brief, they’re a small staff):

    If you’re lazy cut and paste or adapt the following:

    Please look into the law school scam. CBS News recently ran a brief story on the issue but more attention is needed. In short, there are many, many law school students who were lied to about employment prospects by their schools' use of inflated employment statistics and salary information.

    The CBS News story is here:;contentBody

    For more information:

    Please contact as many as you can and try to stay with the programs mentioned above, so that we do not dilute our efforts by sending a few e-mails to several shows at the same network. I will update the list with more programs in the near future. This is a very easy to take action, so please help. I will take suggestions as well (send an e-mail to

  48. Maybe this will end the attack on the kid. Who knows how often that list is updated. It still isn't the important part of the story.

    Why keep trying to minimize the problem? This idea about law schools being a huge scam is not going away. Schools better realize it and address it.

  49. @105. NPR recently dud a story on the law school scam. You might want to mention that in your requests for more coverage by them.

  50. @12:57-- there is no need to dismiss the achievements of those who do well in law school by suggesting that they are less bright and hardworking than people who get bad grades. That may make people feel good, but It is not true.

    As Mikoyan said, no one was trying to discredit this guy who, by the way, is a man, not a kid. Someone went off to look at bar admissions, did not see him, and concluded, wrongly, that he had not passesd the bar.

  51. @1:14 Yeah. You're right "Do Law Schools Cook Their Employment Numbers?" by LARRY ABRAMSON

    I don't think it hurts to ask them to look at it again. The lawsuits and NYLS get a lot of attention but they can pursue an additional angles in the future. I don't think they captured the magnitude of the problem, but the link is above.

  52. "had not passed the bar"

  53. @1:11 "Why keep trying to minimize the problem?"

    Because in this country the aristocracy is still able to successfully market certain myths to those too ignorant, fearful, or starstruck to question particular illusions.

    For example: "The lazy poor vs the industrious rich." That's a core influential myth that is perpetually employed to censor dissent and stifle progressive thought.

    On closer examination, why would those born to wealth be more industrious than those born to less, I.e. harder working.

    Children who grow up with considerable wealth often experience homogeneous environments lacking in true diversity--they're sheltered and pampered.
    They are familiar with having "the help" perform most chores. When nannies, maids, gardeners, tutors, cooks and drivers are employed to fulfill one's needs does that foster an industrious character in a child?

    Certainly, much of this is an over-generalization and there are many exceptions. But, I only point this out because we as a society so easily allow these myths to shape our policies.

  54. A "This American Life" story would be awesome! (they did a great job with the story about the crazy drug court judge in Georgia who ended up resigning:) Perhaps the dean of my TTTT (Golden Gate U.) would be willing to be interviewed, since she's retiring this year?

  55. This comment has been removed by the author.

  56. There is a window of time within to get established or rather a foothold in law. Within that time the bar must be passed, and a decent job secured, or the race against the debt will be lost.

    After say four to five years, maybe less, it becomes very difficult.

    Furthermore, non legal employers view the JD with suspicion.

    That has been my experience, and I have tried to dramatize how, from my life experience, one such job application/ interview, demonstrated that with my Allstate Interview Story.

    I know this is all beyond redundant, but once more: the non-legal employer sees the JD as:

    1. Possibly socially inept or a "bad penny" that couldn't make it in law as Nando indicates in his comments above.

    2. A flight risk.

    3. Generally overqualified.

    4. They simply don't like lawyers, and can you balme them?

    Can I prove all of this? No, but I can relate my experiences as I say.

    And, in the end: Voila! Serving Pizza. And it is yum yum yummy!

  57. ^^^^ I reposted that due to typos :)

  58. I get that the JD is useless so why not just leave it off your resume? Say you were doing "independent consulting" for a few years or starting up a business or whatever to fill the gap.
    I don't mean to be dick but it doesn't sound like you were very marketable before the JD either.

  59. Anybody ever check out, an online hub of the pro-scam law faculty?

    Look what these assholes consider to be charming or humorous or whimsical:

    See, the (lousy, childish, stupid, smug) ongoing joke among these professors of law is that "Redyip, Great Bird of Zarcon" decides whether or not to accept their submitted law review articles, and cruelly or arbitrarily rejects most.

    What these scoundrels fail to realize is that Redyip is a very generous bird. He accepts enough articles to fill 200 law review journals (usually issued quarterly), not counting secondary journals. He accepts articles knowing that the overwhelming majority will never be read by any practitioner or cited by any court.
    He accepts jargon-filled, non-peer-reviewed, CV-padding articles.

    Yes, "Redyip" is generous. It is these law professors who are the birds of prey.

  60. Another interesting piece on the future of legal education on

  61. Twenty years ago I passed the NY bar on the first try - after about 10 days cramming (working your way through also means earning some money to live and pay rent/bills after graduation), and by a healthy margin. However,I was doing a clerkship outside the US (along with a Harvard grad who planned with her husband to become a law professor).

    Because I was outside the US and working every day - I postponed the bar interview (which was inane and shallow) and getting sworn in to the following summer. As a result, I suppose some of the people here would, reading my resumé, think I flunked the first time. Incidentally I am admitted in three countries - and some have much tougher exams than the US - there was the 9 3-hour written papers in 5 days test (luckily you did not have to pass them all at once) - which until recently I was the only US trained lawyer to have passed.

    In any event, you do not have to file the application for admission immediately on passing the bar, and the New York one may be tough to put together since when I did it you needed 3 references from everywhere you had lived since the age of 15 (or was it 16) and if you come from an international background - that may take a while, because you have to send them to people you may not have met in years and get them to fill in the form and return it. Also NY only supplied 6 reference forms and copying the US-Legal sized forms in Europe was a nightmare - we ended up needing to find a huge copier with B2 paper, manually duplex them (alignment was a nightmare) and then cut them down - while typing in the forms on an AZERTY-keyboard typewriter was such a nightmare that we attracted an audience, who would laugh at each typo and curse.

    For people who are unemployed it strikes me that by deferring the admission you could in theory defer the bar dues - but now I see that some people might see that as an indication that you flunked first time.


  62. @jdpainterguy

    20-30 years ago having a JD was not considered such a "mark of Cain" and at least a few entities treated it as being a little like an MBA - a lot of my classmates went into banking, the Hill, journalism and returned to senior executive functions. Of course then, there was not such a divergence between what first year associates might earn in BigLaw and what other executive level jobs paid - and it was just about possible to work your way through law school (my 1L summer paid most of my second year tuition, my 2L summer most of my third and clerking in law firms my living expenses with some help from my parents - but then I did not do college in the US and my university, while not free, was heavily state supported (more than 95% of the costs of physics-chemistry-math, something politically hard to do in the US.)) There was also not an excess of law graduates. As a law clerk I was able to do pretty serious work (I think), certainly I wrote a lot of winning motions in white collar crime cases (white collar offenders tended to have their bank accounts frozen - which meant that the big firm wanted to keep their defence costs low, hence a cheapish-3L writing major motions - with a slightly different second draft to give the public defender for co-defendants who could not afford counsel anymore - rather than the 3-5th year associate you would have expected.) Employers largely regarded having gone to law school as a positive - a sign that you were smart, driven, disciplined and hopefully knowledgeable and therefore valuable - some regarded a JD as better than an MBA because it seems to require more objective learning.

    One of the things that make me angry about what has and is being done to law students today is that they are stigmatised by having a lw degree. Bullshit courses (________ism & the law, _______ theory & the law, critical _______ & the law) don't help (if law schools really thought that a JD should be transferable they would replace these courses with say Basic Accounting, Forensic Accounting and Financial Reporting - which though not law as such are things every lawyer should know about - and every business executive.) It is made worse because, at least at many of the first and second tier schools, the law students are pretty bright (I could make exceptions) and would have done well without law school.

    For this reason I think that more coverage of what has been happening in the legal education system,and more coverage of the reality of being a junior associate in BigLaw, would be a good thing. It would help employers understand that the JDs that they are turning down are not losers - but rather people who are smart, determined and able - and probably a worthwhile investment.

    That said, I want to reiterate that there are a lot of things I wished law school had used my third year (and indeed second year) to cover or at least offer, including:

    accounting and financial reporting (including forensic accounting);
    actuarial analysis;
    presentation (including not umming and uhhing)
    non-legal research skills (i.e., looking for prior art, commercial information, etc.)
    business operations
    basic human resources management (as opposed to employment law)
    contract drafting (it really is not taught)
    motion drafting (again not really taught)
    marketing principles
    interview skills (I used to be a terrible interview subject until I read Max Eggert's "The Perfect Interview," then published by Economist Books - after that I would read it before every interview and got the job every time.
    advanced ass-kissing and sycophancy (always been bad at that)
    international etiquette (what not to do in...), wine and whine...

    I am sure a lot of lawyers here could append a list of things


  63. No one has to take law and... courses. Many students want to take them, and sign up in large numbers. You cannot know what is valuable to another person. You can only know for yourself. Why try to force your values and interests on others?

  64. 4:41: The problem isn't with Law And courses, it's with them being offered while more practical courses are not.

    A common response to the call for more practical training is that those courses are expensive. Now, I haven't seen anyone break down the costs, but I'd imagine a large expense is the student:teacher ratio. Skills classes need to be small, and that can drive up the costs.

    But, Contract Drafting Workshop should be no more expensive than Law and Butterflies Seminar. You could offer more skills classes while keeping tuition the same, but the cost is dropping Law And. Schools don't want to do that.

    1. The conversations are beginning to go into a loop. This topic was discussed in another thread in which it was pointed out that such courses do exist and others pointed out that drafting ontracts from scratch is 20th century. Student can learn skills in classes and clinics.

      The reply option is a great feature.

  65. "drafting ontracts from scratch is 20th century"

    It is a little odd because I represent technology companies at the bleeding edge of new tech - things you would think are fantasies from the 23rd century - and that requires a lot of sui generis contracts which frequently have to be drafted from scratch. Not being able to draft a contract from scratch is in high tech, in my personal opinion, so unemployable. Only those who can's suggest that it is an unnecessary skill - oh and some BigLaw firms who endlessly recycle old agreement. I have personally seen a major firm (one of the two regularly called the top two in the world) cost a company tens of millions by using an internal form - and I have never seen such crap as that which arises when junior associates want a stupid wrong way clause in an agreement from say Weil Gotschall - because it is in their form.


  66. And there are law schools that have classes in drafting contracts, which was the basic point. Saying that "law schools" --as if they were one gigantic mind-- don't want to teach that is not true.

    1. And as I recall, another point raised was that some firms have their preferences about drafting that would have to be "unlearned" .

  67. NOT "drafting contracts from scratch" is very common, and bad lawyering. Even if you work from forms, every provision needs to be specifically considered and tailored to the needs of the transaction. Otherwise, you're just working by rote (and, by the way, this is what many new lawyers do). We recently let our first year associate go and one of the reasons was that we couldn't get him past filling in the blanks to actually drafting.

    (I've posted here by name before, but I am anonymous on this one to protect my first year associate's identity.)

  68. Makes sense to me. I was reporting what others have said and making the point that the law schools that I know about do give students the chance to learn drafting.

  69. @10:02 AM

    I have various formbooks around the place - but I treat them as more of a checklist for a class of contract - what clauses I might want to include - rather than as a fill in the blanks source.

    I have to disagree with the suggestion that lawschools teach contract drafting - even when they claim to do so - they do not produce lawyers able to draft - and a surprising number of lawyers cannot draft.

    I just saw a contract that had in two successive paragraphs essentially:

    1. This contract excludes the warranty of quiet enjoyment, etc.
    2. The forgoing exclusions do not include any implied warranties.

    Huh! (I think they meant mandatory warranties.)

    On another occasion on a loan agreement for somewhat over a billion dollars to acquire an international chain, each loan being secured by property in different countries and thus the overall agreement consisting of 8-12 loans for a few hundred million each, it was necessary to draw up loan documents for each country (real estate is like that.) Unfortunately, the documentation at some point was written to require lenders' counsel to provide an opinion that the loan papers were legally enforceable by their terms (not borrowers) as an exhibit for each loan. Again huh! Cue hysteria among the associates when the local lenders' counsel pointed out that "lenders' counsel" should read "borrowers' counsel" (it sets up a detrimental reliance claim.) None of them wanted to talk to the senior partner to tell him - uh, it's a typo. None of the local lenders' counsel wanted to do it and they all quoted a "f*ck-off" price for the opinion - in our case $200,000 or thereabouts - and rather than fix the typo - the senior associates said "oh, that's expensive .... uh, OK." All because one of the world's "top firms" did not want to fix a typo in a form....we were astonished!


  70. MacK-- you do not know everything. In order to speak with such confidence, you would have had to attend every law school, take every class/clinic that teaches drafting, and be at every place the graduates who were in these class/clinics work. You can speak only about your experiences. Sure, you may have encountered other lawyers whom you find lacking, but you do not know if they took these classes/clinics or whether they, as opposed to their classmates, just did not learn very well.

  71. @11:00AM

    I have no doubt that some law schools have contract drafting courses and that these courses are well taught - but - after 20 odd years practice I have to say that either most don't or if they do, they do it badly and that includes many top law schools.

    I notice no real discussion of other "practical" skills that are worth teaching.


  72. Your experiences--valuable, but not dispositive.

  73. @8:16: It's certainly true that many law schools do teach contract drafting and that "law schools" at large teach it. But, there are also plenty of schools that don't teach, and plenty of other skills classes you may have a hard time finding. Wills drafting, trust drafting, securities filings.

    However, my point was more towards the argument given for why schools do not expand skills training. The argument is typically "it's so expensive!" It may be expensive, but that's not a strong argument when the school is spending a pile of money on Law And classes.

  74. BL1Y-- we just disagree. I went to law school, too, and neither of us owns the experience except for ourselves.I found the "law and" classes I took valuable. Many other students do, too. You do not. That is your complete right.

  75. @10:02 "We recently let our first year associate go and one of the reasons was that we couldn't get him past filling in the blanks to actually drafting."

    ...and here is another problem with this toxic business....students don't learn much useful in law school, and once hired, get fired because no one will teach them what they need to know for the job....I have seen this over and over and over and over...a complete lack of humanity in law firms, and some smug experienced lawyers talk about how incompetent the newbie is and fire him or her for some alleged deficiencies like this...and where pray tell was the 1st year associate supposed to learn this contract drafting but on the job? and was he or she not going to make mistakes at first since no one learns new skills perfectly immediately?

    It is the norm unfortunately for young associates to be terrorized, abused and fired because they don't know how to practice law when they are hired by lawyering firms. I don't know of any other business except perhaps fast food restaurants with attrition rates that approach those of lawyering firms.

  76. No one knows how to practice law when they start. They can know how to do certain things, but young associates should be given guidance. Older lawyers are, evidently, unwilling do for young people what was done for them.

  77. @1:25 PM and 1:38 PM

    "I found the "law and" classes I took valuable. Many other students do, too. Examples please and explain how they helped you practice law.

    No one knows how to practice law when they start. They can know how to do certain things, but young associates should be given guidance. Older lawyers are, evidently, unwilling do for young people what was done for them.

    It was not done for me. I found myself drafting contracts for a partner who was a former supreme court clerk who honestly could not draft for shit and was a terrible lawyer. I had to protect junior associates from this guy and other assholes. A few years after I left and had a lot of business in my giving I met him as a firm cocktail and he started complaining that the US government had tasked a kid I trained (and whose life he made hell) with arguing as lead for the US at the WTO in multiple cases, a role the partner had always wanted - it gave me so much pleasure to say "but I gave him a reference for the job - and by the way ... he won!" He displayed that expression my father used to describe as "like a fox eating shit off a wire fence" and changed the subject.

    I note that the associate called me when he was up for the job because he knew the partners (or at least this one) would screw him. They sent me a questionnaire including "how does he deal with criticism" to which I responded (thinking of asshole) "fair criticism he considers, assimilates and amends his work accordingly; unfair criticism he endures stoically and politely." They showed the associate that line from the reference at the interview.

    I do appreciate the need to train associates skills when they start, but you can only teach what you have and a lot of basic skills are missing out there. For example when people say that:

    "some firms have their preferences about drafting that would have to be 'unlearned'"

    what they don't realise is that this is about the limited drafting skill distribution at that firm, they don't want originality because most of their lawyers cannot draft and they just recycling old contracts, typos and all. This leads to using say a "no-waiver clause" from a banking agreement and putting it into a technology development agreement.

    When in the late 90s and early noughties the "greedy associates" phenomenon took place and law school tuition also broke the $30,000 barrier I predicted that it was all going to end in tears because associates were simply not worth the money that they expected to be paid, while the training they were getting meant that many could not accept less money. A few threads back I made the point that a fist year associate is just not worth $160,000 and had numerous people whop are either first years or want to be disagree with me. Firing a first year associate who cannot manage to draft may seem harsh (I have not done it) but you never asked the other question - what was the first year being paid? The more money you pay a junior associate the harder it is to justify the holes in their abilities or the time required to train them.

    Either law schools are, for their princely tuitions ($48-50,000 a year - wow!), going to teach skills that will enable a JD to pull down a good paycheck as a lawyer or in some other role or they have to cut the tuition. It is not realistic to expect law firms to pay $160k a year, or even $100k for an associate who cannot draft - but it is not realistic to expect someone carrying $100,000-300,000 in debt to work for the amount that is justifiable for an associate without practice skills.

    Tuition needs to fall, law schools needs to teach more practical skills (including skills transferable and valuable outside legal practice), and the number of law graduates needs to fall. It is the only solution.


  78. @Mack-- you may not know how dictatorial you sound and know it all you sound.

  79. (a) I don't think a class or a clinic are the solution to the issue being raised.

    I agree it would be great if more employers would train new lawyers. I don't think that's going to happen. Nor, do I think it would help determine whether someone has the right mindset to do the job or not.

    Its the kind of issue that should be figured out before law school rather than after. If I were going to re-design law school, I would require 1 year of pre-law school experience in the legal field after working with attorneys.

    (b) I also agree form contracts are deceptive if one does not know what they are doing. I would say that of many areas of law. The privacy issue that I am addressing right now in part comes out of IT people developing policies because they thought the privacy compliance issues were all "common sense." The problem with form contracts is that it invites sloppy work. Rather than performing due diligence to determine whether a term reflects actual practices, or legal standards, or business goals, all of this is ignored until a problem arises. Then one is in crisis management mode rather than having safeguarded one's interests. A good lawyer has to explain that to a client althought they tend to hate you for it as "slowing down the deal"

    Good versus bad lawyering is a difficult one not just because of training. Clients often invite bad lawyering by placing pressure on the lawyer to be a yes man. So, the issue of training lawyers is not just about legal skills, but also the ability to not be pressured into making bad decisions based on the client's desire for results because often times their desire for results can come back to bite you in the ass if you have no done the proper work for them.

    Of course, the big law firms are really good at marketing and promoting such bad lawyering as "something no one could have foreseen" or "the other side is at fault for this" but that's all it is- marketing and propaganda.

    When i first went inhouse that was one of the things that I quickly realize. They would doo shoddy work and then work their relationship with the GC to say that I was wrong and then Iw ould have to do with the politics of their shoddy work and how to both clean upt he mess, address business concerns, and address personal relationships.

    Neither form contracts or law school alone can help you with this sort of dynamic. It takes time and having been burned to figure out how to navigate the landmines properly.

    Bruh Rabbit

  80. Quick example of a pre-law experience

    Working as an assistant for an M/A team doing research on the issue

    Working for litigation office as a paralegal on cases

    Interning with a legal department

    I w ould require these sorts of indicators before allowing someone to apply

    Although I have the mindset, the other factor is that "do you want to do this the rest of your life" can be best answered before law school

    If I had to do it over, and such an option were required, I don't think I would have gone to law school.

    Bruh Rabbit

  81. Law school introduces you to subject areas, can teach you some things about practice, and should do more. But young lawyers learn with guidance and by making mistakes. I am married to a lawyer and we both received excellent mentoring from older lawyers at our firms. I do not think it could have been nearly so effective in law school-- and our law school was a good school.

  82. Follow up point

    I am not against firms providing such mentoring. I just don't think its likely to happen. I think its increasingly unlikely. The top law firms are now billion dollar multinational corporations rather than organized for lawyers who are also members of a greater profession. They think like multinationals think. As a general rule, large organizations are impersonal, and not concerned with things like training. They are seeking those who are already trained or cheap labor. What ever one may think of this approach, it means that there is not likely to be more training coming anytime soon. Smaller firms are facing similar pressures due to the practices of the large firms. Inhouse positions are even less likely to train as there is often no one there to train you. Its sink or swim.

    Bruh Rabbit

  83. @2:51 PM

    Of course I'm dictatorial - and my first act as dictator is to ban the idea that someone should dictate a set of legal forms and a firm contract "style" that associates should follow. You draft the contract to suit the the situation. By the way, if drafting skills are unnecessary then clients should just download forms from Nolo Press - and fill in the blanks themselves - or maybe we can automate it - or maybe they should just skip hiring lawyers and just use paralegals.

    And of course I am a know-it-all - because I can give concrete examples of contract screw-ups driven by use of forms and a lack of basic contract drafting skills. I do want to know more though.

    As a lawyer you need to listen to your clients and learn what their issues and facts-of-life and business are - and you need to well, know-a-lot on all sorts of relevant subjects, many of which are not strictly law. Examples are some of those I gave - accounting (where I wish I knew more), economic analysis, etc. Twenty years out I am still learning these subjects and technical aspects of software, microprocessor fabrication and architectures, ELISA, women's shoe design (!!), data protection law (and practical implementation), etc. Legal friends of mine know all sorts of things relating to construction, concrete technology, etc. Part of why experienced partners (the good ones) can justify high hourly rates is because of knowing this stuff - it means the client does not need to educate them, it means that they work better and much more efficiently with accountants, economists, scientists and engineers.

    By the way Bruh, I am inclined to agree with you (the shock), that some sort of work in a law-office ought to be a common prerequisite to going to law school, or at least that it should be a factor in admissions. It does seem to me that associates who had a year as a paralegal or legal secretary before law school make better lawyers. Also, I did notice that a lot of paralegals at firms where I worked, after a year or two as paralegals made an informed change-of-mind on going to law-school, saving the world from a few more miserable attorneys that are lousy to work with (and some of them had offers at very good schools.)

    I enjoy the practice of law immensely, but it is also obvious that it is not for everyone. Even so there are practices that I did a little work in that I would never want to do on a regular basis - antidumping comes to mind, trusts and estates too and everyday real-estate does not excite me. But here are people out there, indeed law graduates that post here, that clearly find the practice of law mind-numbingly tedious drudgery and some sort of pre-law-school experience might prevent them from making a big mistake.


  84. I think you are right. There is a post on Volokh referring to a new article about legal education which basically says that employers value perceived talent over training, which makes sense. In the world you are describing, it may also make sense to have different kind of schools for different purposes.

  85. MacK --I agree on this point: many of the people here have contempt for the law as a subject and for lawyering. I do not think law should only be a trade school. Some can be, maybe most should be, but there is room for the kind of law school that I, members of my family, and my friends attended.

  86. No, I am not advocating a different school for different purposes. I am advocating better prerequisites for admissions. The training in law school would be the same. Clinics, etc. Can be included, but the real training of being a lawyer is an after law school issue. If you want to address this in a better way than it is now, I am advocating that employers as large multi-national corporations aren't going to do it. I am advocating something you will not here at Volokh's site. That we should see the training of lawyers as a public good. That means not only higher prerequisites for admissions, but also a residency type program for 2 years like you find with doctors. IN both cases, the prerequisite and the post law school training should be something that is low cost or free to take on for the student because it is not something that we can expect large multinationals to take on. This issue has come up in general with large companies pushing the training issue (that was previously their responsibility) not just in law, but other areas to governments to handle. I am suggesting admitting that this is reality and addressing it as such rather than pretending that these large corporations are interested in training lawyer's to meet societal needs. I am not suggesting that their education should be inferior. I am suggesting the opposite. I am suggesting that right now under big law training, the education and training is bad, and smaller organizations are even less likely given economic pressures to offer proper training. I say this is someone who learned through sink or swim. I am not convinced it was the best way to have learned how to practice. I doubt the policies changes that I am suggesting are what Volokh has in mind. When i have skimmed the site, they were babbling about deregulation as a cure.

    Bruh Rabbit

  87. 403

    We are actually talking about different issues here.

    There are people who went to law school who shouldn't have gone because they see being a lawyer as a trade school. Those people shouldn't have gone because it doesn't matter what kind of law you are practicing- a good lawyer is not practicing a trade like a carpenter is. Those people looking for law to be more like factory work shouldn't have gone because they don't understand what it is they are doing every day. A lot of l aw is rote, and I happen to find it boring,but it is not like factory work in the sene that although it has that appearance, the deeper point of it is analysis. You can't engage in analysis if you are expecting to treat what you are doing like a factory assembly.

    (b) Then there are people like me who are perfectly capable as far as doing my job. In fact, this week I just received a compliment from the outside counsel because the internal higher ups questioned what I was telling them, and they outside counsel said that actually I was not only spot on, but what I was saying represented a deeper understanding of the issues on both the legal and business end of the deal than others had articulated. The higher ups didn't much like the compliment so the outside counsel backed off of it, but it certainly made me happy to hear that. That being said, I happen to be bored to death with practicing law. There are those group of people who also like me should have been weeded out. Not because I suck at the job, but because the job does not fit my mindset.

    (c) there really needs to be a divide between what clients think lawyers should be (which often grows out of ignorance of what lawyers do and assessing what is and is not great service) and what another lawyer thinks the practice of law must be. This is important because I am convinced unfairly or not that many clients are bad clients. They don't understand legal issues or how it relates to them and they don't care to understand. It means that often they have no way to guage what is good or bad services. This is true even when you are telling them how to achieve their goals or the result they want. What they often want to hear is that "there are no legal problems and you can do whatever you want." For example, a client saying "I don't care about privacy issues, so why should my customers" is what I mean by clients being part of the problem. so, one is facing an uphill battle of describing why something needs to be done. And they hearing "but I am the client. I am always right. I can replace you."

    Bruh Rabbit

  88. MacK--I think there should be different types of law schools. Some elite schools are already partnering with firms and companies to train students. That can continue. But there is a need for legal services outside of the corporate context.

  89. I don't not like the idea of two tiers of legal training and I do not like the idea of second class members of the legal profession. At the moment I am overworked and my partners are discussing adding some help for me - but I want to know the work level is stable because I want to offer a stable associate job. We will not take unpaid interns and we do not want contract attorneys - it is a firm philosophy.

    I think that law schools should only take people who can be trained to be able attorneys and who have the personality and interests to enjoy the job - but I fundamentally opposed to the idea that there will be second class citizens among lawyers. I also cannot accept the idea that clients should have to settle for less well trained lawyers.

    My call for more practical training also means that I want law school to teach a much deeper understanding of the law. For instance good contract drafting can require a decent knowledge of not just contract law, but a knowledge tort, intellectual property, employment, choice of law, accounting and tax - and for me sometimes at least some knowledge of various civil codes (e.g., last week the Netherlands and Japanese civil codes plus English and New York law, consumer protection, a chunk of EU Data Protection and EU Competition rules with a side of US Antitrust) and the ability to integrate that knowledge into the contract drafting - pulling it all together. Some of this cannot be reasonably covered in law school, but you need a good grounding in these subjects as well as practical skills.

    In many respects the practical training is really about learning to put legal knowledge together, how to integrate what you have learned.


    1. Why is providing legal services to non-corporate clients second class? There could be first rate schools that are less expensive because they eschew the trappings of elite education--the dread "law and" classes for which you have so much contempt and the focus on legal scholarship, among other things.

  90. @1:25: "I found the "law and" classes I took valuable. Many other students do, too. You do not. That is your complete right."

    Valuable in an airy intellectual sense? Sure. Valuable in a legal practice sense? Probably not.

    This is fundamentally a question about what law schools are supposed to be doing. Should they be providing a foundation for future practitioners, or providing a liberal arts education?

    There's plenty of room for traditional theory education in a school focused on training future lawyers, so I'm not advocating that schools get rid of that.

    Instead, I'm saying that schools need to decide what it is that they are. Are they training grounds for new lawyers or for new law professors? At present many school are trying to do both roles, and they do neither one well.

    If a school thinks of itself as training new lawyers, but claims it can't provide better skills training because of the cost, yet its funding Law And classes that are irrelevant to practice, then that's a serious problem.

  91. @4:40PM

    I do agree that there is a demand and a need for legal services outside the corporate context - members of my family do this sort of work and I do some pro-bono. But that does not mean that non-corporate clients will be well served by people trained in only one aspect of the law. I have had employment cases where different national employment laws were involved, leases, immigration and international choice of law. Serving the client meant being informed about all of this.

    ANyway, I'm being unduly prolix so I'm stopping now.


  92. BL1Y--I do not think of being intellectual as "airy", a term that I suppose you are using in a pejorative sense. There should be schools that train practitioners and schools that train practitioners and law professors.

  93. I meant airy as opposed to concrete.

    There are highly intellectual areas of legal education that deal with things relevant to legal practice. And then there are the "airy" areas which don't relate to practice at all.

    The law school apologists like to argue that pure skills training is a bad idea, you need intellectual training as well. I would agree with that. Then, they stop the discussion there and use that reasoning to let in any intellectual endeavor, no matter whether it relates to practice or not.

    We don't need less intellectualism in law school; we need it to be more focused.

  94. I was very happy with my legal education. HYS has the right balance for what I wanted (and have been) to do.

  95. I hate to say this, but so far Mac K and I 100% in agreement in this discussion.

    I think further dividing society into have and have not is the pathway to ruin.

    Also glad to see what he says about internships, although the only thing I would add is that if t he position is paid and theyare in law school, that may be okay.

    Bruh Rabbit

  96. 455

    This is a game of bait and switch.

    It is exactly because practicing other forms of law other than corporate law is not second class that the training for those roles should not be treated to a second class education.

    It is the dividing up, or separation of the two,t hat makes one, as a practical effect, second class. It comes from the practical reality of how resources would then be allocated.

    Bruh Rabbit

  97. Did I miss the point where suddenly lawyers looked down their noses at litigation?

    Or are people using "corporate law" to mean something other than transactional law/securities/etc?

  98. There is no reason to think that a law school with a faculty that is comprised of a combination of practioners and profs who teach more and focus less on scholarship has to provide a second rate education. It will be less expensive, and people going in will know what they can expect from their educations. People can choose ahead of time which path to take.

  99. No reason at all except reality of having seen how this works out both in other countries, and how resource allocation works in the U.S.

    I have no idea what BL1Y is talking about? He's saying the exact opposite of what I am saying so I am not sure if his comment is directed towards me. I don't think litigation is any easier than what I do. that's the whole point. Its not.

    The other point is to do the day to day of law you need a great grounding as Mac K has said in the law in general.

    One of the best professors I ever had explains it as "once you know understand the moves to the dance, you can then know what to do regardless of the music that's playing."

    Who would have known, if you want an example, that bankruptcy law (if you follow the mortgage crisis on a political end like I do) would have required an understanding of complex issues like the securitization of mortgages, but now it does.

    In other words, what do you mean by "practical"?

    My client/s both now and in the past would think nothing we do is practical. They consider pesky annoying rules like "you must protect the financial data of your customers" to be impractical and unfair government intrusion.

    I am sure they would love to have a bunch of lawyers who are unaware of these sorts of legal issues representing clients. I am not sure how such a process would help clients.

    The problem with the law is that it doesn't fit into neat little packets. It doesn't mean one doesn't specialize. It does mean that starting off, like a good doctor, you need to be well grounded in the intellectual ideas that define your profession.

    How do you propose to do this while trying to fit your definition (and it really is your definition) of practical?

    I don't see it.

    It may seem practical in the sense of clients who don't know any better, but not for lawyers who should have a grounding the law who need to understand to at least know what they do or don't know. I was in a meeting the other day. An employment law question came up. I knew enough to know that there was an employment law issue that was being raised. I doubt an education that did not teach me a process of thinking like a lawyer would have allowed me to s see that. It wasn't common sense. No one else, all fo them smart, but non legal managers, saw the issue at all.

    Bruh Rabbit

  100. A school that focuses on teaching could teach people how to think like lawyers. There are already tiers of law schools. But they all cost the same, and some schools provide far more opportunities than others. Many on this site have voiced impatience with the kinds of things that drive up costs. Have a set of schools that do not have those kinds of things, and give people choices. Not all schools have to be the same.

  101. "and where pray tell was the 1st year associate supposed to learn this contract drafting but on the job? and was he or she not going to make mistakes at first since no one learns new skills perfectly immediately?"

    How many time does s/he make the mistake before firing? What does 'mentoring' require?

  102. It would be interesting to hear why a school that focused more on teaching, and did away with the items that drive up costs, must be a bad school. The elites we have always had, and always will have. That is no reason not to provide more affordable legal education to those who are not bound for elite schools, but who want to be lawyers.

  103. frankly, i have no idea what ou are talking about when you say "teach", why you think what you say will make it cheaper, or how the hell you think any of this will help clients. three very different things. all of which you need to answer, but aren't


    I hope the link works. It is to Stanley Fish's review of Brian Tamanaha's new book on legal education.
    The argument, in sum, is that attempting to follow the model of HYS has driven up the cost of legal education. ABA accreditation standards and US News's system of rankings have driven the process. So, schools should be free to adopt different models that will be less expensive. The review explains more. Others have said this, too.

  105. I use corporate law in the broad sense - law that represents primarily businesses - and yes I do a lot of litigation.


  106. @8:53

    I don't know the particular situation of this first years' firing but when you ask:

    "How many time does s/he make the mistake before firing? What does 'mentoring' require?"

    The answer it depends. Factors include:

    1. How much is s/he being paid - the more pay, the faster s/he is expected to earn to make that pay level economic;
    2. The amounts at stake in each screw-up;
    3. His/her willingness to take instruction - remember a pissant former law review editor who simply seemed to think he did not need training and was one long screwup. Associate after associate was assigned to train him, but he refused to be trained, resented it, avoided it - and was basically dumb (and an asshole).
    4. His/her demonstrated ability or lack of it to assimilate legal knowledge, factual information and integrate it into contract writing.
    5. The scale of the screwups and the associates response to them.

    Another problem I see in a lot of new lawyers is an inability, a sort of mental block on applying judgment. Given a client issue to deal with they turn it into a never ending legal research project, sure that if they look long enough and hard enough, the answer to the question can be found somewhere - and then you don't get a result, a course of action, just an enormous memo that pushes every judgment issue back into your lap - and couple of hundred hours which need to be written off.

    I had one guy when I was a GC who wanted to be promoted to a role where 3-5 people would report to him - he already had one lawyer I was planning to take away from him out of concern for her sanity (seriously, we did in the end.) Top law school (Cambridge and a US), dazzling credentials - no judgement (not bad judgement - no judgement.) One day he was working on a major issue - that resulted in a 40 page memo - and indiscriminate passing on of the buck, including what should have been in the memo. My number two and I decided that he had to break the no-judgment problem and cornered him in one of our offices and pushed him "so what should we do, what is your recomendation." Finally, with an expression like someone passing a kidney stone, and a lot of "humming and hawing" he picked option A. 'Result' we thought - maybe he can do this - but then after he had just exited the room he cracked the door, stuck his head in and said "but you know, on the other hand....."

    Anyway - it depends. But it also is an indication that the First Year never should have been let into the law school in the first place.


  107. @ March 9, 4:29PM

    Actually, I did try leaving the JD off my resume, many times, and that was how I landed an Insurance sales job in 2006.

    After two or three months into that job I told the owner and managers of the agency that I had a JD, and they looked at me like I had just stepped out of a UFO and my name was Platu with a sidekick robot named Gort.

    After that, everyone in the Insurance agency was strange, and one day a manager came diffidently to my desk and asked a legal question, which I couldn't answer, and the manager walked away somewhat chagrined.

  108. ^^^^^ "to clarify futher," He said with a great sigh, "I think everybody had better have a look at this:"

  109. (a) The ABA standards existed throughout the history of law schools. Meaning in 1979 there were perhaps 147 law schools. If the standards were the cause of cost, you might have seen it back then.

    (b) Other schools use adjuncts. This is example of you being myopic. The result is not a cheaper education. Its a reduction in labor cost that's never passed along to the student. Its away to pass along wages to the owners. This has repeated itself in so many other aspects of society I have assume you are living in a bubble.

    (c) I don't want a law school without a functioning law school library, and I don't want any student anywhere near a client in without such a library. Just like with the professor aspect the "innovation" here is to lower the training of the prospective law student by giving them less of the education they receive now in terms of being able to (1) have a full range of understanding of legal issues (both from the theory) and from the (practical) because I can tell you once again both are necessary to make a good lawyer. (2)Limit the scope of materials that they are expected to learn

    Actually, you know what, I am kind of tired. All I can say is look at other industries. Get out your bubble. Realize that many of these arguments are not for the purpose that they are being presented to you. good luck.

    Bruh Rabbit

  110. One other noteL If you want to see how adjuncts does not mean cheap for students- see NYU

    The other point I would make is that cheap does not mean a lack of a full law school education. Again See CUNY Law which is 13800 a year, serves the underprivileged and still manages to meet the standards that you claim are getting into the way. This suggests to me the standards are not the problem, but the crisis is being used to allow people to extract more profit from the situation by pretending educational standards are the problem.

  111. Bruh:

    "The ABA standards existed throughout the history of law schools. Meaning in 1979 there were perhaps 147 law schools. If the standards were the cause of cost, you might have seen it back then."

    Actually they did not. They were a response to law schools like Suffolk being created that taught law as an evening program to what Drinker (the ABA ethics maven) caled the Irish, the Italians and the little Russian Jew Boys.

    Yale started the lobbying for the ABA to introduce accreditation standards and for congress to appoint the ABA as the sole accreditation body - I think it went through in the 30s - first thing - they got rid of the evening programs and cut back on the adjunct faculty to make law an exclusive profession again. It was years before evening programs came back and the full time requirements were eased.


  112. Bruh, your post does not respond to the idea. I do not believe you have to hand all the ABA standards throughout the history of law schools and know precisely how they may have changed over time. Each situation has to be viewed in its context. It is not enough to say that the ABA had standards in 1960, or some other point, and think that has immediate relevance to today. Also rankings have changed the game. No matter how we feel about them (my feelings are mixed) people pay attention to them.
    I do not think Tamanaha and others are saying that there should be no more law
    libraries. That is a strawman. Nor would all theory go out the door. But assuming that every school has to follow the HYS model prevents the creation of alternatives that could cut costs and allow people to become lawyers--good lawyers--without crushing debt.

  113. Mac K

    The point is (1) the need for accreditation predates the debt bubble (this is a point about causation. I one is going to advocate a solution then they need to also explain how their solution links up with the problem described. I see no reason why the same principle that we all law in the learn in the law- that when proving something you must also provide causation does not apply to arguments here); and (2) And even if one accepted there was some kind of causative factor, the cause can not be as simple as people think here or once again CUNY Law would not exist which happens to provide exactly the kind of education that people here claim while still meeting accreditation requires while costing 13800 a year.

    In short, I am not buying arguments that require us to dumb down legal education until it can be shown the arguments aren't here to severe a different cause than what is being described. Ther eare othere better ways to address this than dumbing down lawyers

    bruh rabbit

  114. 1056

    Until you prove cause, it is enough to say that there were standards and that even under these standareds now CUNY exist.

    Its on you now to explain why that is the case since you are advocating change. May be in the court of ignorant opinion you don't have to link cause to solution offered, but with me you do.

    I don't need to answer you at this point. You need to answer how things link.

    Bruh Rabbit

  115. 1056

    Until you prove cause, it is enough to say that there were standards and that even under these standareds now CUNY exist.

    Its on you now to explain why that is the case since you are advocating change. May be in the court of ignorant opinion you don't have to link cause to solution offered, but with me you do.

    I don't need to answer you at this point. You need to answer how things link.

    Bruh Rabbit

  116. I never said it was accreditation alone. The monocausal answer is almost aways wrong. Rankings have had a tremendous effect upon this as well. Certainly,for public schools, the withdrawal of public support has had a negative impact on the system overall. I am all for revitalizing public support of higher education.
    All I know of CUNY is that it is geared toward public interest work and that the school overall was started as an institution for the poor. It used to cost nothing. I would imagine that its origins influence the amount of state support it receives and the determination to keep costs low. It is also poorly ranked. Students who are looking to go
    to law school in the New York area do not pick it over more expensive schools, unless they are set on doing public interest work.

    It Is still not clear why HYS is the only model for law schools, and anything else is presumptively "dumbed down".

  117. Your discussion of CUNY is the kind of game I mean by the way about creating a separate tier program. Look at what even you the so-called advocate said, "It is also poorly ranked. Students who are looking to go
    to law school in the New York area do not pick it over more expensive schools, unless they are set on doing public interest work."

    On the one hand, when it suits your policy arguments, you talk about how we should have should have a two tier approach, and flash the poor to prove your point.

    On the other hand, when presented with a school in the present system, you talk about ranking and how privilege perceives the school. There will be no difference in what you advocating other than you will have made it worse and made a lot of money for those running the schools, now at a cheaper reduced services approach.

    This kind of move the ball in the middle of the conversation is precisely why I don't trust the motives here. You are still very much the middle class. Your sensibilities make ou think that you are saying is important even if its not.

    What CUNY is regarded proves my point. Not yours. But you mentioned in anyway. Ask yourself why you did that. And you will start to figure out why you find yourselves constantly being given less and less and why you settle for it.

    My view of CUNY is that its a good schoolf or what it is. Despite the lesser tuition people come out with a full legal education without sacrificing the education. You are the one claiming that we should sacrifice that full education to teach "practically" but when presented with such an example you attack it becuase it does not fit with all else you are pushing here without saying.

    I know you will probably think you aren't pushing something else, but you really kind of are. Whenever there is a crisis of any kind, the same kinds of solutions over the last 30-40 years have been pushed consistently again and again to solve the crisis. The kind of approach being when there's a crisis, let's cut things, let's make it cheaper, because that's the source of the problem. Is it? Is the problem that lawyers are given a full law school library or is the problem that unlike CUNY the rest of the system is not focused on providing an affordable education. that's a separate question and it most certainly does not rely on creating a two tier educational system that serves the haves over the have nots rather than serves the people you claim you want to help.

    Bruh Rabbit

  118. Bruh, don’t understand where all the hate is coming from. I mentioned a proposal that is being discussed by B. Tamanaha and others and you start accusing me of all kinds of things--including being middle class. You generally have thoughtful things to say here, but this is, frankly, the most incoherent of your comments on this blog.

    The concern grows out of the realization that the legal profession is changing rapidly. There is a need to rethink things. Of the many things that must be rethought are lawyer training and licensing. Must there be one kind of education for everyone? Must there be one kind of license given? What about unbundling, and allowing non-lawyers to do things that are now being done by lawyers—or not getting done because lawyers are too expensive? I am not the only one who is calling for things to be less expensive. This blog is very much about the skyrocketing cost of legal education. Your quarrel is not only with me, it’s with all the people on this blog who have charged that an HYS-styled education-- with faculty members who tend to be more devoted to scholarship than teaching, with tenure, “law and” classes, low faculty to student ratios-- has driven up costs to an alarming degree. People here say they do not want these things, that they are a waste of time—at least all except the last. Are they right or are they wrong? If these things are driving up the cost of legal education—and there is no question that the commitment to scholarship is stronger than it was in earlier times, that there are more “law and” classes, and more smaller classes than in earlier years-- then would doing away with these things lessen the price? That’s a fair question. It’s not about taking away anybody’s library or shunting people into tiers that don’t already exist. Can you have good legal education that is not on the HYS model? You, evidently, do not think so.

    You were the one who raised CUNY, suggesting that all law schools could simply follow that school’s lead, and tuition would be 18K per year. I do not know enough about CUNY to make a judgment about how things work there internally, in terms of salary, teaching loads, scholarship expectations to tenure, and the like. Perhaps someone reading this can tell us, because it would be interesting. Even then, though, you would have to do a thorough investigation of the operations of the institution before you could speak with authority about how things work there. You asked what was different about CUNY. I responded that its history is different, its mission is different, and the level of state and city support for the institution is different-- the last thing being a function of its history and special place in New York society. I have nothing against CUNY. You assume that I do because I mentioned that it was poorly ranked. It was not ranked by me! You were the one offering it as a panacea. It was perfectly right for me to point out that, even with its low cost, many students choose to pay more to go elsewhere. That indicates that for a panacea, it has some issues, evidently. That’s all. If people are committed to public interest work, and living in NY, CUNY would be fine.

  119. (a) I can't respond to emotion based arguments that amount to "if you disagree with me, then you hate me." Its defensive posturing. I am debating your arguments and saying they are flawed, and why, including using your own words to demonstrate the point. I am not going to get defensive in what I said.

    (b) The book you are touting are pushing the same kinds of solutions that produced the overall problem in the first place. As I have said, its funny how the very ideas that produced teh crisis are then used to "solve" it.

    (c) I raised CUNY as rebuttal to your claim that the only way to address the issue is to reduce the quality of education (which no matter how you spin is what you are arguing for). I said it was a good example that a 2 tier system is not required after you claimed that 2 tier system would not be a problem. Your response to the example was to complain about the quality of CUNY although you had just got through arguing that the quality of a 2 tier system would not be called into question. I think you need to thinkt hrough what you want to argue here.

    The rest of your response is irrelevant. If you don't know, leave it at that.

    The answer to your question is that if you believe such radical approach as a two tier system is necessary you need to demonstrate it is. I demonstrated by raising CUNY that its not necessary.

    If you can't rebut that, then you need to go back to your argument to see what's wrong with it.

    Bruh Rabbit

  120. You are the one whose argument is emotion based. You are clearly more exercised than I am about this. Anyone reading our commentary could see who is more heated and emotional.

    You have mischaracterized my statements in order to make the arguments you want to make. So, if you won't deal honestly with this, there is no point in continuing. You have not dealt with the question whether the change in focus of law schools--the increased emphasis on scholarship, the drop in teaching loads that have attended this new focus-- have contributed to the cost. Instead you keep proceeding on the assumption that any model that deviates from HYS is second class. Even HYS hasn't always been on the current HYS model. My professors taught more classes and published far less-- some who had tenure did not publish until after they had tenure.

    "Called into question" by whom? And what does it matter to you if a school that de-emphasizes scholarship, increases teaching loads, and makes better use of practitioners comes up with a program that trains good lawyers? For some reason you are convinced that is impossible, and keep bringing up the threat of lost libraries to make your claim. You do not mind CUNY's rankings and see, rightly, that the school is performing a valuable service for people who want to do public interest law. You are the person who needs to think things through.

    Whether you like it or not, if this blog is any indication, there is support for diversifying legal education. If people reject the schools, then fine.

  121. I have given you 2 specific issues which rebutt your arguments

    You have yet to address either one.

    Telling me you can appeal to majority (a logical fallacy) certainly unscores you got nothing.

    Yes, a lot of people may believe you are right. So what. A lot of people once believed the earth was flat.

    That's all that I really need to say.

    Bruh Rabbit

  122. You have offered no rebuttals at all. How does the existence of CUNY rebut the argument that a non-HYS model would be a way to cut costs? The CUNY model may be one way to do it, but it is not the only way in the world.There is rarely just ONE way to solve a problem. I have identified fairly recent changes in legal education that have raised costs. You do not deal with that at all or explain why having a law school without those things would make it second rate. This is particularly interesting since they have not always been features of elite education. The things I mentioned are relatively new. It is also interesting in light of the fact that other countries train lawyers in different ways. I do not mind looking to models outside of the country for answers.

    If your accreditation argument was meant to be a rebuttal it is equally feckless because I never suggested that this was the only reason for rising costs. You fastened on that, and offered the facile argument that because there was accreditation in the past, and there is accreditation now, current accreditation requirements can have no effect on price of law schools. The historical context of any phenomenon matters. The ABA acting at one point in history is not the same as ABA acting at another moment. You can't just graft one moment in time onto another time and act as if the world is the same.

    You have offered no reason to think that de-emphasizing scholarship, working more with practitioners, and bringing teachers back into the classroom will automatically result in an inferior education. Instead of dealing directly with the issues at hand, you simply resort to questioning my motives. You cannot spell out why law schools on the HYS model are the only kinds that can ever deliver a good solid legal education.

    And a lot of people thought it was a good idea to have public education, too. Is that like thinking the earth is flat?

  123. "You cannot spell out why law schools on the HYS model are the only kinds that can ever deliver a good solid legal education. "

    England & Wales, which is home to the great litigation centre of London, and which supplies judges not only to the British and European courts, but also to those of the Commonwealth, operates on an apprenticeship model. A university graduate can become a trainee lawyer within two years (CPE+LPC/BVC), an non-graduate within a minimum of four years (LLB+LPC/BVC) so long as they are successful in getting a training contract (comeptition for which is intense). The maximum cost for doing so is between 20,000 and 40,000 GBP.

  124. A long while back I commented on the failings of the UK (and Irish) legal training model. To put it simply - the law faculties are training an even greater oversupply of law graduates than the US system and as a result only a fraction can get apprenticeships - and when training is over many of the new lawyers are unemployed or underemployed - especially the barristers.

    The state pays a good chunk of the education cost at undergraduate - but is is largely a wasted expenditure because there are simply too many being trained and too many faculties. The problem is just as bad as in the US, if not worse.


  125. We are not going to do away with all law schools; not in the UK, US, or on the Continent. It is, therefore, legitimate to talk about the structure and cost of schools. There are multiple problems to address, and no one thing is going to solve all of them.

  126. @MacK - Mostly true, but the number of lives wrecked by the British system is far less because it costs far less time and money - the amount of debt the student is lumped with may be a lot, but it is not crippling. A trainee solicitor can be earning a salary two years after graduation from a non-legal degree, or four years after starting an LLB.

    Yes, far too many people are studying law, but only those that follow the LLB route receive any government assistance, and then only during their undergraduate studies. CPE, LPC/BVC studies must either be self-funded or paid for with a trainee contract. The unwillingness of the banks to continue lending people with no chance of finding employment is (finally) reining in the number of people applying to law schools. Unfortunately the law schools themselves are stepping in to offer high-interest loans to student, but there is only so far they can go with this as these loans are still dischargeable in bankruptcy (although bankruptcy is far harsher in England & Wales).

    As bad as the US system? In terms of people trying to become lawyers and failing, yes. In terms of people being saddled for life with crippling debt, no.

  127. @8:55 - I have direct knowledge of the number of kids beating down doors looking for training contracts and jobs after training contracts and the shear number of briefness barristers because I have an office in London.

    Moreover, in most universities law is a very competitive course, requiring a very high level of UCAS or GAO points - this does mean that law is siphoning off a lot of the better intake from secondary level education for roles where employment prospects are dubious and for most solicitors and barristers the pay is well - shit!

    I did a count of the number of undergraduate law courses a few threads back and I was astonished how many state subsidised courses their actually were between the UK and the RoI - it came out I think over a hundred. In the UK In 2009-10 around 20,000 students were accepted on courses to study law as a first degree combined with more than 15,000 LPC places. At the same time there were fewer than 4,900 new traineeships, a number that declined by 16.1 per cent compared with the previous year. So there were traineeships for just 1/4 of the students studying law as undergraduates - and that is before you take the large number taking law as a post-graduate training.

    A year or two ago there were 14,482 full and part-time places on the legal practice course (LPC). Not all the places were filled, so only total 9,337 students were enrolled on the LPC (people tend to look for a training place before enrolling in the LPC.) That was still twice he number of people training to be solicitors as there were jobs for.

    At the Guardian put it two years ago:

    "What would help is acknowledgement of an emerging scandal. At the moment, there is insufficient recognition that the legal profession is sucking in too many students and spitting too many out, poorer for the experience in every sense of the word, before they have had a chance to prove themselves."


  128. Another way of looking at the issue is that the UK and Irish population is about 1/5th the size of the US (or smaller) but it is training somewhere of the order 24,000 a year on some sort of law degree or diploma or about half the number of the US. That means that the UK and Ireland is training about 2.5 times as many people per capita as the US.


  129. I think the point was that none of the people you are describing have the equivalent of 250k of debt and no job in a country that has no national health insurance and a very weak safety net.

  130. @MacK -
    "I have direct knowledge of the number of kids beating down doors looking for training contracts and jobs after training contracts and the shear number of briefness barristers because I have an office in London."

    And I have direct knowledge because I've done it myself, and many of my friends are/we're in the same spot. However, when it comes right down to it, these people may have wasted their time and money, but not as much as they would have in the US, and they haven't destroyed their lives.

    But my real point is that the time/cost of legal education is less than that in the US, but the UK delivers equal quality.
    As for pay being 'shit', 20-30K GBP (or 30-50K USD) P/A for a trainee rising eventually to around 50-70 GBP (80-110K USD)is nothing to be sneezed at. Yes, about 10% more of your income goes in taxes, but this is evened out by having healthcare on the NHS, a state pension, and student loans covered by the government.

  131. @FOARP

    The UK delivers equal quality - as someone who has used the services of top UK firms and competes with them - ummmmmm -


  132. @11:41

    "I think the point was that none of the people you are describing have the equivalent of 250k of debt and no job in a country that has no national health insurance and a very weak safety net."

    Well yes and no. Someone has to pay for the national health insurance system and the social safety net (which I am not opposed to in principle) and putting 5 to six times as many kids through a law course as there are jobs for just increases the likelihood that they will need to take advantage of the social safety net while contributing less tax to support the national health system, Given that law is a competitive course, suckering too many bright kids into taking it is a massive economic drag. Sixteen thousand kids could have take subjects that would have benefited them and society much more - and they exercised that bad choice at society's expense.

    This is a point I make again and again - the excessive training of very bright kids in law is harmful economically because it turns people who might have been massively net contributors into well - massively not.


  133. @FOARP

    Average 2011 salary for a UK solicitor was average £40,257 - not a lot - barrister who stick at it (most quit) are making allegedly £61,302 - not great either - less than $100,000 - and that number fails to take account of their self-employed status which means they have to okay their own expenses and for their own benefits. UK living costs are much higher than US.

    In London - where living costs are pretty close to New York, a seven years qualified magic Circle associate was on £94,500 and the average 7 year associate on £72,000

    Things are not wonderful for new lawyers in the UK - they are pretty well as bad as the US. The same is that case almost everywhere I work but Japan - but in Japan qualifying is absolute hell. Only 2% of law graduates even try.


  134. Of course you have to pay for health care, and it is bad to have too many people chasing too few jobs. Obvious. But the level of debt incurred by US law students, who must also pay for college as well, puts them in a much worse position than students in the UK.

  135. @1:16PM

    This debate is not about whether most of them are in deep shit - it is just about the depth...


  136. Well, you do not define the terms of debate. I was in a discussion about the feasibility of trying different models for legal education. You broke in to say that the UK model did not provide jobs. That was not what the discussion had been about.

  137. "The UK delivers equal quality - as someone who has used the services of top UK firms and competes with them - ummmmmm - "

    I've worked with both US and UK firms (and Japanese ones, but that's another story) and (with all the respect in the world to our US associates) I have to say that I never noticed any marked superiority in the quality of service from our US associates over the ones we work with in the UK. Obviously this is my own experience and should not be generalised, but put simply, if the greater cost of the US system produces greater quality, then I am yet to see evidence of it.

    BWhilst the number of people taking the LPC , at least as of 2009/10, was around 10,000 as compared to only around 5,500 trainee contracts on offer, The actual number of people passing the LPC was only marginally above the number of trainee contracts offered. This is because a great many drop out before the exams when it becomes clear that they will not gain a traineeship rather than waste further money.

    An even more dire ratio existed between students on the BVC (now the BPTC) and pupillages on offer - 2,500 BVC students versus 500 pupillages.

    Unless things have become severely more dire in the past few years, I do not think that the overall ration of would-be lawyers to new trainees is much worse than 2:1. Definitely a bad ratio though.


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