Is Law School a Losing Game?

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ohmylord
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ohmylord » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:03 pm

This is an incredibly depressing read. I'm not exactly the perfect student, but to know that I'll be weighed down by debt and pretty much live out my life never accomplishing anything or getting anywhere is just tragic right now.

I hate how society puts lawyers down and tries to crap on them so much, yet at the same time try to make them out as rich fatcats who care only about money.

It's hard NOT to care about money when the world runs on it.

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robotclubmember
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby robotclubmember » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:04 pm

Sammi wrote:
DEKOCARDS wrote:
robotclubmember wrote:He is the least sympathetic poster boy that could have been selected for what is, in actuality, a serious problem in the legal profession. The NYT wrote a good piece, but by writing about Wallerstein, it kind of undermines the point that many students are legitimately mislead by data that is borderline fiction, and that level of debt without any kind of viable job prospects is potentiall catastrophic to thousands of students. I think most people who go into law school really are honest people that want to pave their own way make a good living for themselves and honor their debts, but they are woefully misguided. Thanks to the NYT, and this Wallerstein yokel, we all look like a joke now.


I think it was the NYT's way of showing that it isn't entirely the legal education system's failure. There are a lot of complete idiots who go into law school blind and come out without a clue how to pay for the years of education wasted on them. I suppose they could have found a better example of someone who did their research and still got screwed to balance it out.


I think we all know that there are folks that are in this forum who got their 16* and have high hopes, will take out hundreds of thousands to pay for the best school they can, will end up bottom of their class, and will have to shoulder a load of debt. It's in the stats. You can't think that everyone is in the top of their class, that everyone is employed, and that everyone makes $150k. I find it interesting that TLS is an area that fosters blind optimism when it comes to after law school success.


TLS fosters "blind optimism"? Lol. There's a new sky-is-falling type of post every day on this forum, complete with retake-trolling abound. I don't think this site fosters blind optimism.

Not everyone goes to this site though. Some students rely on the data that schools report. When people look at the employment stats for a reputable institution like Georgetown, do you think it occurs to them that those stats might be a lie? That GULC may be inflating it's numbers by offering temp positions in its admissions office? People inherently think that a respectable institution would have credible statistics, that they wouldn't massage their data to the point of bordering fiction, and that's a real problem.

Publicly traded companies have their financial statements audited, because if they aren't audited by an independent source, then a company could report whatever numbers they want, and shareholders wouldn't have reliable information to make investment decisions. Could you imagine what it would be like if we eliminated the SEC and all regulatory financial reporting requirements? Because that environment is exactly what the law school industry is like right now. There is no policing, no auditing, and schools can report whatever they want. We become stakeholders of a sort when we enroll at a school, so it's fair we should expect the data they report to not be lies, like the way investors expect financial statements not to be a bunch of fake numbers. There are stupid Wallersteins out there who will blow it for themselves one way or another, sure, but most of us want to make an honest living and expect a law school of all places to be ethical in reporting its data. When schools like GULC boast 94% employment rates with median salaries in the $150K range, I think it's fair to expect that that data is fair and accurate. 0L's, like me, would look at that and should be able to trust those numbers, and assume that everyone IS actually employed more or less. But no one attests to the fairness and accuracy of the data they report. That's not the fault of blindly optimistic 0L's. Law schools are lying and their reporting methods are unethical, and that's a serious issue. When they start reporting realistic data, I think you'll see a lot less students getting sucked into the debt quicksand which is law school. We have realistic data on McDonald's salaries, do you think people are busting their ass to get into the fast food industry? When law schools report honestly, this problem will start solving itself in a big way because 0L's will realize that getting admitted to a decent law school is NOT the winning lottery ticket that said law schools have unethically led them to believe. But that means less profit, so they have a huge incentive to basically lie to everyone in their data. I just don't think it's fair to blame that on the students though.

09042014
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:05 pm

ohmylord wrote:This is an incredibly depressing read. I'm not exactly the perfect student, but to know that I'll be weighed down by debt and pretty much live out my life never accomplishing anything or getting anywhere is just tragic right now.

I hate how society puts lawyers down and tries to crap on them so much, yet at the same time try to make them out as rich fatcats who care only about money.

It's hard NOT to care about money when the world runs on it.


You could not go.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:19 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
ohmylord wrote:This is an incredibly depressing read. I'm not exactly the perfect student, but to know that I'll be weighed down by debt and pretty much live out my life never accomplishing anything or getting anywhere is just tragic right now.

I hate how society puts lawyers down and tries to crap on them so much, yet at the same time try to make them out as rich fatcats who care only about money.

It's hard NOT to care about money when the world runs on it.


You could not go.

Law school doesn't impose a "magical debt" that you'll never escape.

Law school is for people who.. wait for it... want to "do" law. The money is just compensation for service tendered, which at times seems like the impossible (O.J. Simpson, anyone?).

I tried to go into business, programming, and construction. Although I did these jobs very well with an excellent amount of effort and interest, at the end of the day they did not make me "happy."

On the other hand, from what I've seen lawyers do across the great scheme of things(PD, ADAs, PI, etc.) - sure it's a lot of menial tasks.. but I've learned that this is the field for me. I'm a great deal sure that law would be a field that I can retire from, learning from past occupations.

So, in-point.. I could end up starting off at 50k(when eventually employed, if it comes to the soup line), but at the end of the day.. I'm doing something that I'm happy doing. Sure I'm painting a rosy picture about it.. it's not. It just highlights the mentality of why you should go to law school - albeit not everybody would agree with it, and shouldn't.. provided you can get into HYS.

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James Bond
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby James Bond » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:31 pm

ResolutePear wrote:Law school doesn't impose a "magical debt" that you'll never escape.

Law school is for people who.. wait for it... want to "do" law. The money is just compensation for service tendered, which at times seems like the impossible (O.J. Simpson, anyone?).

I tried to go into business, programming, and construction. Although I did these jobs very well with an excellent amount of effort and interest, at the end of the day they did not make me "happy."

On the other hand, from what I've seen lawyers do across the great scheme of things(PD, ADAs, PI, etc.) - sure it's a lot of menial tasks.. but I've learned that this is the field for me. I'm a great deal sure that law would be a field that I can retire from, learning from past occupations.

So, in-point.. I could end up starting off at 50k(when eventually employed, if it comes to the soup line), but at the end of the day.. I'm doing something that I'm happy doing. Sure I'm painting a rosy picture about it.. it's not. It just highlights the mentality of why you should go to law school - albeit not everybody would agree with it, and shouldn't.. provided you can get into HYS.


Aaaaaand this is the ONLY reason someone should go to law school

dabears1
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby dabears1 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:34 pm

NoJob wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html?_r=1&src=busln


If we use this line of reasoning then 90% of undergraduate degrees are a losing game.

There should be an article... "Thinking of getting a UG in this economy, think twice, it's a waste of money.... etc, etc."

09042014
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:35 pm

dabears1 wrote:
NoJob wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html?_r=1&src=busln


If we use this line of reasoning then 90% of undergraduate degrees are a losing game.

There should be an article... "Thinking of getting a UG in this economy, think twice, it's a waste of money.... etc, etc."


There is some inherent value is just having a BA or BS. Though nobody should be spending 200K on undergrad. You should try to end up debt free.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:36 pm

dabears1 wrote:
NoJob wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html?_r=1&src=busln


If we use this line of reasoning then 90% of undergraduate degrees are a losing game.

There should be an article... "Thinking of getting a liberal arts in this economy, think twice, it's a waste of money.... etc, etc."


Fixed that for you.

College is TCR in this economy - provided you're going to learn a profession. Accounting, Engineering, and Nursing are a few.

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James Bond
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby James Bond » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:37 pm

dabears1 wrote:
NoJob wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html?_r=1&src=busln


If we use this line of reasoning then 90% of undergraduate degrees are a losing game.

There should be an article... "Thinking of getting a UG in this economy, think twice, it's a waste of money.... etc, etc."


I think 90% is exaggerated, but it's close. Trust me, I'm going to graduate with a BA in Political Science. WTF is that going to get me?

Now if I had studied to become a plumber, and could get union rates, I'd be making bank already

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JenDarby
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby JenDarby » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:39 pm

James Bond wrote:I think 90% is exaggerated, but it's close. Trust me, I'm going to graduate with a BA in Political Science. WTF is that going to get me?

Now if I had studied to become a plumber, and could get union rates, I'd be making bank already


I started in mechanical engineering and switched to political science....my life is definitely in a very different place as a result.

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James Bond
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby James Bond » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:41 pm

JenDarby wrote:
James Bond wrote:I think 90% is exaggerated, but it's close. Trust me, I'm going to graduate with a BA in Political Science. WTF is that going to get me?

Now if I had studied to become a plumber, and could get union rates, I'd be making bank already


I started in mechanical engineering and switched to political science....my life is definitely in a very different place as a result.


I should have majored in Economics at least (IMO the only useful BA)

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BrownBears09
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby BrownBears09 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:41 pm

dabears1 wrote:
NoJob wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html?_r=1&src=busln

If we use this line of reasoning then 90% of undergraduate degrees are a losing game.
There should be an article... "Thinking of getting a UG in this economy, think twice, it's a waste of money.... etc, etc."

+1
Desert Fox wrote:
dabears1 wrote:
NoJob wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html?_r=1&src=busln

If we use this line of reasoning then 90% of undergraduate degrees are a losing game.
There should be an article... "Thinking of getting a UG in this economy, think twice, it's a waste of money.... etc, etc."

There is some inherent value is just having a BA or BS. Though nobody should be spending 200K on undergrad. You should try to end up debt free.

Don't really agree with that statement. The UG prestige game (particularly IBanking) can be remarkably similar to the prestige LS game. Then again, Ivies tend to be generous with need-based grants.

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JenDarby
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby JenDarby » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:43 pm

James Bond wrote:
JenDarby wrote:
James Bond wrote:I think 90% is exaggerated, but it's close. Trust me, I'm going to graduate with a BA in Political Science. WTF is that going to get me?

Now if I had studied to become a plumber, and could get union rates, I'd be making bank already


I started in mechanical engineering and switched to political science....my life is definitely in a very different place as a result.


I should have majored in Economics at least (IMO the only useful BA)


I can agree with that also.
Last edited by JenDarby on Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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James Bond
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby James Bond » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:44 pm

BrownBears09 wrote:Don't really agree with that statement. The UG prestige game (particularly IBanking) can be remarkably similar to the prestige LS game. Then again, Ivies tend to be generous with need-based grants.


Don't call it "ibanking." No one who does investment banking calls it ibanking.

That being said, you're right. Banking, Consulting, etc. are all prestige-based careers for the top firms.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:46 pm

James Bond wrote:
JenDarby wrote:
James Bond wrote:I think 90% is exaggerated, but it's close. Trust me, I'm going to graduate with a BA in Political Science. WTF is that going to get me?

Now if I had studied to become a plumber, and could get union rates, I'd be making bank already


I started in mechanical engineering and switched to political science....my life is definitely in a very different place as a result.


I should have majored in Economics at least (IMO the only useful BA)


That all depends where you get it from IMO.

I've seen grads with BA Eco and they started off as tellers. With time, they all got pretty good positions, but isn't the same true with law? If you're good at it, your experience will eventually edge out all the "youngings"? Provided it's substantial experience.

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gin
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby gin » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:47 pm

This was an extremely interested article. On a related not, the sky is blue! Can you imagine that?
I'm having trouble deciding which is the most obvious part in this article:
Thomas Jefferson not being able to find a job (especially in the east coast)
Self-reported data being optimistic
Schools getting "creative" with definitions
LS being overpriced
Schools that teach you ethics being the first ones to not follow them (lead by example right)
And many more

09042014
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:51 pm

BrownBears09 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:There is some inherent value is just having a BA or BS. Though nobody should be spending 200K on undergrad. You should try to end up debt free.

Don't really agree with that statement. The UG prestige game (particularly IBanking) can be remarkably similar to the prestige LS game. Then again, Ivies tend to be generous with need-based grants.


Banking is a narrow field that makes up a tiny percentage of UG hiring and shouldn't be the basis of choice. And again only the very best of the best schools really have a shot. It would be like evaluating law hiring only on the V5.

There are tons of people and families going into to debt to send their kids to mediocre private schools that really don't add any value.

And like you said the top schools financial aid is some of the best. The average harvard UG only ends up with 15K in debt. That's definitely worth it.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:55 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
BrownBears09 wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:There is some inherent value is just having a BA or BS. Though nobody should be spending 200K on undergrad. You should try to end up debt free.

Don't really agree with that statement. The UG prestige game (particularly IBanking) can be remarkably similar to the prestige LS game. Then again, Ivies tend to be generous with need-based grants.


Banking is a narrow field that makes up a tiny percentage of UG hiring and shouldn't be the basis of choice. And again only the very best of the best schools really have a shot. It would be like evaluating law hiring only on the V5.

There are tons of people and families going into to debt to send their kids to mediocre private schools that really don't add any value.

And like you said the top schools financial aid is some of the best. The average harvard UG only ends up with 15K in debt. That's definitely worth it.


It definitely does help to have a 7-8 digit endowment per student.

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Sinra
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby Sinra » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:20 pm

FYI, not that it makes too much of a difference now, but it's clear that the Times got it wrong and that Mr. Bohn went to Florida. Still, a top 50 school, but it was clearly shady of the Times to imply that this particular CLS graduate was having so much trouble (I mean, they could probably find one had they looked anyway!)

This seems to have been posted by Mr. Bohn himself at First Tier Toilet blog on the comments for the story:

Jason said...

Before you throw Columbia or I under the bus, you should know the following: A few hours before this blog post was created, I forwarded the email chain between myself and NY Times reporter David Segal to my contacts at CLS and SIPA. Additionally, I referred Columbia administrators to my LinkedIn profile, which has always accurately noted the fact that I completed my JD at the University of Florida and coursework at Columbia towards my final year of law school.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jason Bohn
Date: Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 10:47 AM
Subject: Fwd: you still awake?
To: ag2635@columbia.edu

Please forward the email chain below (between myself and the NYT reporter) to all concerned CLS and SIPA administrators...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Segal
Date: Sun, Jan 9, 2011 at 1:27 PM
Subject: Re: you still awake?
To: jasonjaybohn@gmail.com

Hey Jason, I will call you asap. Sister and her family have converged on the NYC.....

On Sun, Jan 9, 2011 at 1:40 AM, wrote:

Hello again, David:

After reading the article a second time, I can see how my having a JD from the no. 4 school nationally (Columbia) does a better job offsetting the most powerful criticism of your article: your central character assumed the risks associated with taking on "six figure debt" to attend a 4th tier scam (poor prospects even pre-crisis) and thus the problem is less widespread than you suggest.

Unfortunately, as I have previously mentioned, the article is not factually accurate as currently written. What would make it factually accurate and still help you hit the home run? You can put what I wrote below, which leaves it open to interpretation. Alternatively, you can write that I graduated from a US News top 50 law school (the University of Florida). Both statements are factually accurate and sufficiently offset the most powerful criticism of your article.

That being said, the student loan bubble in this country is serious and not limited to schools no one has ever heard of. Indeed, I know more than a few "six figure debt" students from top 50 law schools like Columbia and Florida, and some of them are currently underemployed or unemployed.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
January 11, 2011 8:06 AM
Jason said...

-----Original Message-----
From: Jason Bohn
Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2011 23:42:13
To: David Segal
Subject: Re: you still awake?

Hi David:

I just read the article. While you wrote a great article, you never corrected the factual inaccuracy I pointed out to you in my email below. Specifically, the article makes it seem as if I obtained my JD from Columbia. However, as I also mentioned during our phone conversation, I only spent my last year of law school at Columbia as a VISITING STUDENT/CROSS REGISTRANT because I was simultaneously completing a masters degree at Columbia and wanted to double count a year to save some money. As also noted on the resume I sent to you, the University of Florida issued my law degree. Please let me know your thoughts whenever you have a moment. I sincerely apologize for the confusion.

Jason

On Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 1:13 PM, David Segal wrote:

Thanks much.

On Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 12:53 PM, Jason Bohn wrote:

Good afternoon, David:

I hope you had a wonderful New Year! I think your theme hits the nail on the head, although the odds were definitely not as bad coming from a top 50 law school pre-Lehman collapse. Since graduating in December 2009, I have sent out hundreds of resumes for positions all over the world. Fortunately, I have been able to sustain myself with contract work, which seemed especially prevalent during 4Q of 2010 (a sign the economy is improving?).

Please feel free to send me questions going forward.

Jason

On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 12:41 PM, David Segal wrote:

Hey Jason, one theme of this story is that a lot of kids know the odds of getting a great job are kind of long but many assume they will beat those odds. Did you?

And about how many resumes do you think you've sent out so far, in your current job hunt?

d

On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 12:40 PM, wrote:

David:

No problem at all and thank you for the compliment. The only change I would make is the following: "He is carrying more than $250,000 in student loans, a sizeable chunk of which he incurred during his time at Columbia, where he completed a masters degree and his final year of law school."

By the way, when do you plan on publishing your article?

Jason

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
________________________________
From: David Segal
Sender: davidalansegal@gmail.com
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2010 12:17:12 -0400
To: Jason Bohn
Subject: Re: you still awake?

Hey Jason, thanks for this. Can you note the factual inaccuracies – just give the right detail where I've got the wrong one. Much obliged. Amazing story, your life. Wow.

d

On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 11:57 AM, Jason Bohn jasonjaybohn@gmail.com wrote:

Good morning, David:

Content-wise, the passage looks great. There a few factual inaccuracies (e.g., student loan total over 250k; schools and degrees; etc.). I am forwarding my resume as an attachment to this email. Additionally, I have cut and pasted the text from an article that was recently published in a Columbia University newsletter. Of course, please feel free to reach out to me if you have any follow up questions. Hope you're having a wonderful week!

Warm regards,
Jason



--LinkRemoved--

Also, correction from the Times:

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 11, 2011

An earlier version of this article misstated the educational history of Jason Bohn, a recent law school graduate. While Mr. Bohn took classes at Columbia Law School, his law degree is from the University of Florida. And while nearly all of his student loan debt was accumulated at Columbia University, it was incurred while he was an undergraduate and while working on a master’s degree, and not at Columbia Law.



http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/business/09law.html

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robotclubmember
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby robotclubmember » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:29 pm

[quote="Sinra"]FYI, not that it makes too much of a difference now, but it's clear that the Times got it wrong and that Mr. Bohn went to Florida. Still, a top 50 school, but it was clearly shady of the Times to imply that this particular CLS graduate was having so much trouble (I mean, they could probably find one had they looked anyway!)

This seems to have been posted by Mr. Bohn himself at First Tier Toilet blog on the comments for the story:
[quote]

Good find, and yet another reason why the media is one of the least trusted professions around right now (something they have in common with us entering the legal profession, haha). The article is a goofy article. I think everyone knows these problems exist, but he used factual inaccuracies and goofballs like Wallerstein to sell his point. NYT drops the ball, big surprise there. Anyway, thanks for posting.

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JazzOne
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby JazzOne » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:35 pm

One of our deans put up a graph during 1L orientation that compared the five least trusted professions in America. I don't know where the graph originally came from, but the news media ranked third, with lawyers second only to politicians.

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Unitas
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby Unitas » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:38 pm

JazzOne wrote:One of our deans put up a graph during 1L orientation that compared the five least trusted professions in America. I don't know where the graph originally came from, but the news media ranked third, with lawyers second only to politicians.


It makes sense for lawyers to be hated and untrusted. Given that during any suit one party hates the other side's lawyers when they win. So in every suit the loser doesn't like lawyers. I am talking about personal suits for the most part and not corporations. Just a product of the adversary system.

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JazzOne
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby JazzOne » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:40 pm

Unitas wrote:
JazzOne wrote:One of our deans put up a graph during 1L orientation that compared the five least trusted professions in America. I don't know where the graph originally came from, but the news media ranked third, with lawyers second only to politicians.


It makes sense for lawyers to be hated and untrusted. Given that during any suit one party hates the other side's lawyers when they win. So in every suit the loser doesn't like lawyers. I am talking about personal suits for the most part and not corporations. Just a product of the adversary system.

I don't think corporate clients like lawyers any better.

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ResolutePear
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby ResolutePear » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:44 pm

JazzOne wrote:
Unitas wrote:
JazzOne wrote:One of our deans put up a graph during 1L orientation that compared the five least trusted professions in America. I don't know where the graph originally came from, but the news media ranked third, with lawyers second only to politicians.


It makes sense for lawyers to be hated and untrusted. Given that during any suit one party hates the other side's lawyers when they win. So in every suit the loser doesn't like lawyers. I am talking about personal suits for the most part and not corporations. Just a product of the adversary system.

I don't think corporate clients like lawyers any better.


Lawyers in general? People fear them because of the misconception that if you try to rip them off or piss them off, they'll make your life into ground zero.

At least, that's how I see it.

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General Tso
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Re: Is Law School a Losing Game?

Postby General Tso » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:48 pm

yes




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