Wednesday, August 1, 2007

How to Do Law School, A Tutorial, Part I

I have decided that Fannie's Room needs a tutorial. And, since I like to make fun of law school and lawyers, it is most appropriate to create a How-to-do-Law-School series.

While this series is meant to be humorous, it is also based in the reality that I experienced and saw in the law school process.

That's pretty self-explanatory. Shall we begin?

Exploration Stage.

This is the stage where you lose your youthful idealism and realize that your parents were right and your liberal arts major wasn't very practical. You are now either unemployed or, if you're lucky, in the fulfilling employment role of "temp." You likely have student loans, you probably don't have health insurance, and you are learning- probably for the first time in your young life- that your major doesn't guarantee you a job in your chosen career field , even if you went a to a "good" school. Fed up, you have done a little research and have found out that a bachelor's degree in just about anything can get you into law school. And after law school, you'd be able to slap that JD title on the back of your name and collect a six-figure salary. And, even though you have no idea what a "tort" is or why you would want to study one, you, your friends, and your family, at least, will be impressed during the 3 years you will be able to tell other people that you are in law school.

Or, you are quite possibly a "non-traditional" student looking for a "meaningful" career change. Please know now that "non-traditional" student really means "old" and , therefore, "uncool." Your "backpack" is probably one of those annoying suitcases on wheels that are cumbersome and large . And kids at least 10 years younger than you, ie 22-year-old philosophy major-types fresh out of college, will think that you aren't as smart as they are, despite your years of making it in the real world. You will learn all this your first day of law school, when you get your locker assignment and realize that you have just re-entered high school. Let's just say that you probably won't be in the "cool crowd" that sits in the back row stoned and/or drinking alcohol during class.

A few of you still believe in the social justice idealism you had in college and are intent on pursuing noble careers in public interest law. The reality of student loan payments coupled with a non-six-figure salary is a long, long way away. And besides, you don't care about material things as long as you can avoid working for "the man" as long as possible. You don't know this now, but after graduation you will turn bitter when you send your paycheck to Sallie Mae every month and learn that your school's highly-touted loan repayment program is underfunded and maybe you do want to buy a house and a nice car someday and possibly start a family and go on nice trips like all of your friends do but you are now pigeon-holed into a public interest legal career that you now feel isn't quite as meaningful as you thought it was because there will always be poor people in our capitalist society and, really, you are just putting band-aids on legal and social problems that will always be there.

A couple of you may already have decent jobs, possibly in engineering or science, and have visions of patent law and six-figure salaries dancing in your head. You are boring, and there really isn't much to say about you.

Some of you are thinking about law school because you have parents who are doctors or lawyers, themselves. You just returned from your backpacking trip in Europe where you went soul-searching (not on your dime, of course) ,and now, you don't really know what else to do for 3 years but you know that law school is probably easier than medical school and it would be respectable to still be some sort of "doctor," so why not? Your parents are paying for your school anyway (as long as you pursue the noble professions of law or medicine) and if you don't like it you can just quit and try something else. I hate you.

If you are any of the above, get out now, while you still have nothing invested. Go to nursing school, where you will always be guaranteed of a well-paying job anywhere you want to live.

And that's today's lesson. More to come.

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