Tuesday, July 13, 2010

This couldn't come at a worse time...

Here is an appalling post from someone who should damn well know better.

I used to read Above the Law when I was a paralegal at a big firm. It was a good place for law firm gossip, but I stopped reading it after I was no longer in the biglaw scene. I still check it out from time to time, however, and occasionally they come out with something interesting about the decline of the legal market.

Then comes a post by David Lat, whose writing I generally enjoy, making the case for law school. I respectfully but vehemently disagree with all five of his points. My responses to his points:

1) The lottery argument: Yes, when it comes to the lottery you “have to be in it to win it” but that hardly makes it a smart investment. Yes, you have to have a law degree to be a biglaw associate and make $160K per year starting salary, but the point is that so few people will achieve that, especially from the ever expanding pool of TTTs that it is arrogant (and na├»ve) to assume that you will be one of those people.

2) The “Go to law school if you want to be a lawyer” argument: This might hold water if the people applying to law school had any clue what being a lawyer entails. But I think the vast majority of 0Ls have no real concept of what law practice entails, or how bad the job market is. So a 0L's desire to be a lawyer is not worth much because it is quite often without foundation.

3) The “What else are you going to do?” argument: As my fellow scamblogger at First Tier Toilet points out in his response, this one is far and away the worst argument. Honestly, law is the only degree that people say this about. Not having a game plan for your career when you are a recent college graduate in your early twenties is NOT a good reason to take out a ton of debt just to narrow your career options further. I cannot say anything more about this particular argument or I will get too angry.

4) The “Not everyone has a ton of debt” argument: So what? Even if what he says is true and a full fifth of law school grads have little or no debt, that’s still 80% that do. Hardly a reason to go.

5)You can put “Esq.” next to your name: At $50K per letter, I could forgo the dubious honor.

The sad part is that ATL has a wider readership than the scambloggers, and this might be just the validation the 0Ls need, right as deposit deadlines are creeping up. Sigh.


  1. Thanks for the mention.

    Don't worry about ATL's readership. We're doing pretty well. I'm actually surprised by our success and all the support and testimonials we get.

  2. ATL is only good for: (a) pointless gossip about the legal industry; and (b) "elite" JDs who enjoy putting others down - typically for their "character defects" of being born poor with no connections, busting their ass to scrape by, and ending up with $150K in non-dischargeable debt, a law degree and no job prospects.

    Other than that, the site is crap. End of story.

  3. I disagree. Who was our only source of truth when times got rough, when firms and schools participated in back door deals to save their own arses ... ATL. We would not know that people/businesses were so desperate to survive that they would do anything, and I mean ANYTHING to save their own butts hoping that no one would notice. If it wasn't for ATL, we would not have as much information as we have now. We would not know about these transgressions or even have someone to hold them accountable for these actions.

    Above the Law is alright with me.

  4. ATL is rotten with the worst kinds of racism and snobbery--they represent everything that is ugly, hated, and frankly evil about the legal profession and lawyers. I stopped reading long ago (while still in BigLaw) because what it revealed about the soullessness of my colleagues made my work environment that much less bearable. I don't see how anyone could defend them; this latest post from Lat doesn't surprise me in the least.

  5. While overtones of negative messages (as referred to as racism and snobbery by the previous poster) do sometimes appear on ATL, it is from negative commentators. ATL has a fresh, modern voice that is all encompassing. I specifically appreciate its youthful, non-traditional, all-inclusive voice, which is represented by its diverse editorial staff.

    Again, I ride with ATL. It's about time someone shook things up.

  6. Zenovia, ATL may have served that purpose in the past. Currently, only Harvard JD Elie Mystal has the balls to call out the law school industry, for its numerous lies. And look at the sick personal attacks that come his way, from the supposed "elite".

    It just goes to show that racist dogs OFTEN come from privileged backgrounds. Hell, just look at the history of Western Civilization, i.e. "We must invade Nation X, set these indigenous peoples free, teach them our correct, superior customs/traditions, and remove these savages from their precious metals and natural resources. All in the name of progreess, of course." (wink wink)

    This also applies to most modern white liberals in academia and politics. They profess to relate to and empathize with poor people, women and minorities - but they CANNOT truly relate to these people. They don't even know how to address these groups. Instead, these waelthywhite liberals think that by writing some esoteric article in some obsure academic journal, they are helping to right a wrong. Complete nonsense.

  7. My ex-husband is an astrophysicist at an Ivy League School. When an advisee would tell him that they might just go to law school because they can't think of anything else to do, he would say: Law school is hard and expensive and takes three years of your life- you wouldn't just go get a PhD in Physics would you?

    That usually made them think a bit more seriously about their choices.