Thoughts from a law professor

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Mce252
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby Mce252 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:02 pm

Don't worry. Obama is working on a stimulus package.

snehpets
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby snehpets » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:48 pm

This was stressful. However, as for being a lawyer being stressful and boring, I would say that's true of at least 80% of jobs that pay well. Obviously some people get to be movie stars or whatever, but even being a brain surgeon has got to get a little tedious after 30 years. Realistically, most people are not going to LOVE their jobs. At the risk of sounding cliched and stupid, life is what you make of it. There are garbage truck drivers who love their lives and movie stars who hate them and vice versa.

Also, buttonpusher, from what I remember from another thread you gave up law to get your masters in education or something. Why the hell are you still on TLS hating on the legal field every single day?

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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby REALLYBIGLAW » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:40 pm

msuz wrote:So in OPs (or others) opinion, what % at a school would qualify it as being "worth it," as far as bar-required full-time employment is concerned?


None of them are worth it as long as we have an excess supply of 100+ law schools producting the surplus 20,000 to 25,000 law graduates each year that we don't need to meet demand. As a result of the huge oversupply, it ruins it even for the graduates from top schools.

Yeah, there are some Biglaw lottery winners each year from top schools, but 95% of those Biglaw associates washout within 3-7 years then have to go compete against everyone else is smaller law firms as a much lower salary. With Legalzoom and Suzie Orman sucking up the business that small law used to dominate, we are all in trouble. Even YHS graduates are in trouble after they wash out of Biglaw. Those YHS guys are also on the doc review circuit these days.

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romothesavior
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby romothesavior » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:45 pm

REALLYBIGLAW wrote:
msuz wrote:So in OPs (or others) opinion, what % at a school would qualify it as being "worth it," as far as bar-required full-time employment is concerned?


None of them are worth it as long as we have an excess supply of 100+ law schools producting the surplus 20,000 to 25,000 law graduates each year that we don't need to meet demand. As a result of the huge oversupply, it ruins it even for the graduates from top schools.

Yeah, there are some Biglaw lottery winners each year from top schools, but 95% of those Biglaw associates washout within 3-7 years then have to go compete against everyone else is smaller law firms as a much lower salary. With Legalzoom and Suzie Orman sucking up the business that small law used to dominate, we are all in trouble. Even YHS graduates are in trouble after they wash out of Biglaw. Those YHS guys are also on the doc review circuit these days.

C'moooon maaaaan!

(You have good points, but you'd be taken a little more seriously if you didn't resort to the wild exaggerations.)

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Perdevise
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby Perdevise » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:47 pm

rklafehn wrote:
Perdevise wrote:I appreciate OPs' comments, and think they are appropriate here. Go to the "what are my chances" thread and you will see lots of people agonizing over going to third or fourth tier schools with numbers that will insure loads of debt with little if any job prospects. Are people going to T14 schools in a different boat? Of course (but remember that lots of people from schools like Duke and Michigan are striking out at OCI). And one can always rationalize anecdotes that someone going a regional school might have local connections or "I know a guy from Hastings that made BigLaw", but the truth of the matter is that Professor Campos is saying things we all say in these boards every time we recommend someone retake the LSAT.


Are you implying that things are way worse at Duke or UM as compared to UVA, Penn, Berk, Cornell, and NU? Saw a sheet of Duke summers and it seems 60%+ of Duke will be summering at a V100 firm. Those odds seems pretty good to me and are on par with the majority of the non-T6 T13.


What I mean is that even at T-14 schools, lots of people are not getting BigLaw, and not close to the number that was some years ago. I am not picking on Duke or Michigan (I like both schools very much), I just remember seeing their statistics recently.

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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby REALLYBIGLAW » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:50 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:In addition to reforming bankruptcy laws to make student loans dischargeable, it might help if a "baby bar" exam was required after completing the first year of law school since the real problem is one of over-supply, not of an outdated or unneeded profession.


You are correct that the real problem is over-supply.
However, the profession is also outdated. The current business model of most law firms is not sustainable in the new era of the internet, outsourcing and DIY basic law being available at such a low cost of $29.95.
The two issues of over-supply of lawyers and lower revenue per lawyer are squeezing the entire industry.

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PennQuaker
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby PennQuaker » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:51 pm

Mce252 wrote:Don't worry. Obama is working on a stimulus package.

hahahahah...good one!

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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby REALLYBIGLAW » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:55 pm

romothesavior wrote:
REALLYBIGLAW wrote:
msuz wrote:So in OPs (or others) opinion, what % at a school would qualify it as being "worth it," as far as bar-required full-time employment is concerned?


None of them are worth it as long as we have an excess supply of 100+ law schools producting the surplus 20,000 to 25,000 law graduates each year that we don't need to meet demand. As a result of the huge oversupply, it ruins it even for the graduates from top schools.

Yeah, there are some Biglaw lottery winners each year from top schools, but 95% of those Biglaw associates washout within 3-7 years then have to go compete against everyone else is smaller law firms as a much lower salary. With Legalzoom and Suzie Orman sucking up the business that small law used to dominate, we are all in trouble. Even YHS graduates are in trouble after they wash out of Biglaw. Those YHS guys are also on the doc review circuit these days.

C'moooon maaaaan!

(You have good points, but you'd be taken a little more seriously if you didn't resort to the wild exaggerations.)



Eventhing that I wrote, which you put in bold type, is absolutely true.
1) None of them are worth it.
2) Most Biglaw associates do not make partner and do wash out. They often take a massive paycut, often 50% less than they earned in Biglaw.
3) There are plenty of YHS guys doing doc review.

I saw a recent ad from a doc review agency in which the client wanted very strong due diligence experience. They wanted someone with at least three or more years of substantive experience in corporate, securities and/or mergers and acquisitions.

In other words, the agency wanted former BigLaw associates for a doc review project. They have so many desperate lawyers looking for work that temp agencies can pick and choose their former Biglaw associates.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:02 pm

That doesn't mean 'none of them are worth it.' In 4 years, I will have my debt paid off and will have made up any lost opportunity cost from the 3 years of law school, with breathing room. Even if I then have to take a 50% paycut (or 75%, for that matter,) I'll be making better money than I would have been sans law school.

Hyperbole diminishes your argument.

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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby REALLYBIGLAW » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:04 pm

sach1282 wrote:I majored in philosophy. I can either 1) attend law school 2) teach children with disabilities (because I had a friend who did it that got me in the door) 3) get a philosophy PhD 4) pray to Allah every day that my band becomes rich and famous.


Number 2 maxes out about $14 an hour, and only after a few years unless you have teaching credentials. Number 3 has even bleaker job prospects post-grad than the JD does, and although number 4 is more likely than not, I feel like when our fans know that a member of the band has a JD it will make us seem cooler and more sophisticated.


That is a great plan. You made a mistake in your undergrad choice of degree, now you are doubling down on failure.
As a lawyer you will likely also make less than $14 per hour after you subtract your student loan debt payments and calculate what your real earnings per hour are for those 60-80 hour work weeks.

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sach1282
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby sach1282 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:15 pm

Ok... Just to echo what others have said here ReallyBigLaw, in a general sense we agree with you, but the extremity to which you take your points is a bit absurd.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby JamMasterJ » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:38 pm

While this blog is a bit extreme, I think several posters (mostly scambloggers and Mtal) have posted much harsher critiques of law school than this.

However, I do take exception to the implied statement that TLS is enabling the bs employment stuff. All the site does is reposts what the school reports. They do this because there are no "real" employment statistics (except possibly LST). On top of that, in the conclusion of each of these profiles, TLS makes it clear when a school is not really worth attending (for example, basically every school from 20-100's profile implies that the school is a really bad choice for people who want to practice outside of that state/city). TLS is definitely not an enabler, but they aren't going to post something that a school is going to sue them over, which could risk hurting the site and all the "real" information that the forums provide.

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PennQuaker
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby PennQuaker » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:56 pm

sach1282 wrote:I majored in philosophy. I can either 1) attend law school 2) teach children with disabilities (because I had a friend who did it that got me in the door) 3) get a philosophy PhD 4) pray to Allah every day that my band becomes rich and famous.


Number 2 maxes out about $14 an hour, and only after a few years unless you have teaching credentials. Number 3 has even bleaker job prospects post-grad than the JD does, and although number 4 is more likely than not, I feel like when our fans know that a member of the band has a JD it will make us seem cooler and more sophisticated.

WOW-and we wonder why America is heading toward European ruin. Here's a novel idea-Take responsibility for your own life!

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chup
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby chup » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:02 pm

Bildungsroman wrote:I have followed your blogging with some interest, but let me offer a recommendation: from the statements you've made in your blog about how you came to join the anti-law-school camp, you don't seem to be an expert in the legal job market or in admissions (not saying you say a lot of things that are incorrect, just that you're not offering a unique perspective or much specialized experiential knowledge). Rather, the area you seemed like you would have special insight into and a rare willingness to talk is the field of legal academia: the value law professors are offering their students, how hard they work, the importance of their research, etc. I would like to read more about your experience and opinions in that area, rather than getting the same facts about lousy employment numbers and a stagnant professional field that I can get from any scam blog.

I don't want to speak for Professor Campos, but I think (some of) those issues are addressed here, here and here.

Edit: Fixed for stupid word filter.

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Gail
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby Gail » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:06 pm

PennQuaker wrote:
sach1282 wrote:I majored in philosophy. I can either 1) attend law school 2) teach children with disabilities (because I had a friend who did it that got me in the door) 3) get a philosophy PhD 4) pray to Allah every day that my band becomes rich and famous.


Number 2 maxes out about $14 an hour, and only after a few years unless you have teaching credentials. Number 3 has even bleaker job prospects post-grad than the JD does, and although number 4 is more likely than not, I feel like when our fans know that a member of the band has a JD it will make us seem cooler and more sophisticated.

WOW-and we wonder why America is heading toward European ruin. Here's a novel idea-Take responsibility for your own life!


Where did Sach1282 imply that she wasn't taking responsibility for her life? The fact is that life is quite miserable for a lot of people. If you weren't already upper-middle to upper class already, the options for this generation are quite abysmal. If you don't think that is the case, I'll invite you to look at the load of job offers I have at my address of 1234 Fake St. in Dreamtown, Shitcago.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby Bildungsroman » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:20 pm

chup wrote:
Bildungsroman wrote:I have followed your blogging with some interest, but let me offer a recommendation: from the statements you've made in your blog about how you came to join the anti-law-school camp, you don't seem to be an expert in the legal job market or in admissions (not saying you say a lot of things that are incorrect, just that you're not offering a unique perspective or much specialized experiential knowledge). Rather, the area you seemed like you would have special insight into and a rare willingness to talk is the field of legal academia: the value law professors are offering their students, how hard they work, the importance of their research, etc. I would like to read more about your experience and opinions in that area, rather than getting the same facts about lousy employment numbers and a stagnant professional field that I can get from any scam blog.

I don't want to speak for Professor Campos, but I think (some of) those issues are addressed here, here and here.

Edit: Fixed for stupid word filter.
Exactly, and that's what I'd like to see more of. There are dozens of scam blogs you can go to for the same spiel about how employment prospects are bad, how schools try to hide bad outcomes, how shitty the lives of lawyers and law students are, etc. In my opinion, the real value that a law professor brings to the table is not in talking about bad employment (since they're so far removed from the non-academic legal job market) or any of that, but in throwing back the curtain on legal academia, how wisely spent our tuition money is on professor salaries, the merits (or lack thereof) of their research, how hard professors actually work, etc. I think the unpleasant responses from other legal academics on the internet to that line of discussion really showed how much potential that conversation has.

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chup
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby chup » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:06 pm

OP's authenticity is now confirmed.

To address the blog post from the view of having been on TLS for a number of years, I actually think this site now does a generally good job of warning people about the enormous risk of law school. This has not always been the case. In 2007-08, when I first started posting, it wasn't at all uncommon to see people debating the relative merits of this or that T4 at full sticker, and people who said it was stupid/not worth it were generally in the minority and even outright ignored. Even before the crash happened this outlook (rightfully, IMO) earned TLS some derision from places like xoxo, which was much more cynical/realistic about prospects at lower-ranked schools (though how much of that was due to healthy skepticism and how much of it was about chasing "prestige," I have no idea). Now, if someone asks whether they should attend anything ranked lower than Emory on anything less than a full ride, the default response is something along the lines of "retake and apply T14." Admittedly, our law school profiles don't really reflect the consensus in the forums, and they tend to parrot the misleading employment statistics provided by the schools themselves. This is partially due to the fact that the profiles are sort of a separate project, so they're not written/edited by mods or admins. But anyone who bothers to glance over the forums with an open mind will quickly learn what kind of gamble they are making.

All that said, even if someone makes it into a top school without incurring a lot of debt, that doesn't necessarily mean going to law school is the right decision. Though TLS and other sites have done a good job of alerting prelaw applicants to the relative risks of attending law school, I don't think they've spent as much time encouraging applicants to think about whether it's the right decision for them. Part of this stems from the fact that that sort of analysis involves a lot of introspection and personal calculations. It's easy to scream at someone for being an idiot when they post about taking out $180,000 of non-dischargeable debt to attend Nova Southeastern. It's a lot harder to tell someone going to UVA on full ride that they might not be happy or fulfilled pursuing law as a career. I actually agree with Justice Scalia on this point: too many smart and capable people still view law school as a (relatively) safe default.

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Grizz
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby Grizz » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:10 pm

chup wrote: It's easy to scream at someone for being an idiot when they post about taking out $180,000 of non-dischargeable debt to attend Nova Southeastern.

Or Barry?

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sunynp
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby sunynp » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:30 pm

I think this article is valuable. Many people (and their friends and family) still think that law is a great option. As mentioned, you just have to read all the threads by people applying and attending low ranked schools. There was also a thread recently by someone went to law school even knowing all the bad information, but he didn't really "understand" the situation until he was doing OCI. Maybe a law professor can make a dent in the resistance to this information.

I do think that at some point OP needs to address the idea that there really aren't that many real alternatives for people. I'm not saying that means law school is a great idea; but it isn't enough to tell people not to go to school without understanding that they don't have a lot of other career options.

I think there needs to be an analysis of when a person should drop out. Too many people keep going just to finish the degree even when they know they don't have any real career prospects.

I dunno, I think that easy lending is a huge part of the problem -where else could a person with no job or assets borrow 6 figures of debt? It is just a crazy system.

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chem
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby chem » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:38 pm

charliep wrote:
Gail wrote:Both sides of this argument are a bit too extreme for my liking - including the side that says if you get into YSH (CCN with $$$) then you should slump back to your life and never reach for anything more than a job paying $30k that will max you out a around $80k with some luck.

Law school is a bad idea for most. Probably for me. But what other alternatives do people have? If I shoot for law career and miss, well then I'm right back where I started. A miserable life with miserable career prospects and miserable miserableness.


But at least I won't have that debt!!!


Yes. Just major depression. Yippy.


exactly. it's like they assume everyone is turning down engineering jobs to pursue law school


....

shit

buttonpusher
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby buttonpusher » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:52 pm

That doesn't mean 'none of them are worth it.' In 4 years, I will have my debt paid off and will have made up any lost opportunity cost from the 3 years of law school, with breathing room. Even if I then have to take a 50% paycut (or 75%, for that matter,) I'll be making better money than I would have been sans law school.

Hyperbole diminishes your argument.


Guess it was "hyperbole" too when all those associates a few years back got deferred and ultimately had their offers yanked, or the 1st years who got laid off when these mills crashed & burned.

Making a statement like "in 4 years I will have my debt paid off" is the exactly the type of reckless, presumptive arrogance the OP/professor/knowledgeable posters on this site are warning you about. There's an excellent chance the euro debt crisis will lead to an epic shitstorm that makes the layoffs/deferrments of 2008/2009 look like a Mardi Gras.

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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby Campagnolo » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:11 pm

buttonpusher wrote:
That doesn't mean 'none of them are worth it.' In 4 years, I will have my debt paid off and will have made up any lost opportunity cost from the 3 years of law school, with breathing room. Even if I then have to take a 50% paycut (or 75%, for that matter,) I'll be making better money than I would have been sans law school.

Hyperbole diminishes your argument.


Guess it was "hyperbole" too when all those associates a few years back got deferred and ultimately had their offers yanked, or the 1st years who got laid off when these mills crashed & burned.

Making a statement like "in 4 years I will have my debt paid off" is the exactly the type of reckless, presumptive arrogance the OP/professor/knowledgeable posters on this site are warning you about. There's an excellent chance the euro debt crisis will lead to an epic shitstorm that makes the layoffs/deferrments of 2008/2009 look like a Mardi Gras.


No.

(I don't disagree, I just don't even want to imagine...)

Curious1
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby Curious1 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:22 pm

buttonpusher wrote:
That doesn't mean 'none of them are worth it.' In 4 years, I will have my debt paid off and will have made up any lost opportunity cost from the 3 years of law school, with breathing room. Even if I then have to take a 50% paycut (or 75%, for that matter,) I'll be making better money than I would have been sans law school.

Hyperbole diminishes your argument.


Guess it was "hyperbole" too when all those associates a few years back got deferred and ultimately had their offers yanked, or the 1st years who got laid off when these mills crashed & burned.

Making a statement like "in 4 years I will have my debt paid off" is the exactly the type of reckless, presumptive arrogance the OP/professor/knowledgeable posters on this site are warning you about. There's an excellent chance the euro debt crisis will lead to an epic shitstorm that makes the layoffs/deferrments of 2008/2009 look like a Mardi Gras.


And if that happens, everything tanks, not just law firms. I mean, would you also advise against going to college? They'll always need dishwashers you know, even during a depression, so maybe everyone should just plan on doing that instead.

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Gail
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby Gail » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:46 am

Curious1 wrote:
And if that happens, everything tanks, not just law firms. I mean, would you also advise against going to college? They'll always need dishwashers you know, even during a depression, so maybe everyone should just plan on doing that instead.



Am I the only one who thinks that the "no law school" meme is just "no college" meme in repeat? I'm a senior finishing my fall semester right now. Job prospects? Not good. I have an unpaid internship. And UG debt to pay off. How the fuck am I supposed to do that? How am I going to survive? When I eventually fold into being unable to repay anything, what do you think my prospects are for higher education then? For fulfilling my parents' dreams of seeing their child do better than they could? I realize I'll be asking the same questions 3 years from now if I do end up going to law school, but goddamn I'm terrified. I stay up at night thinking about it. Scouring job boards, sending in random applications from here to Montreal (I'm not joking). You know what I've heard back? Nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing. Not next to nothing. Not temp work making 30k a year - which I would kill for - but nothing.

Gah. Law school is a bad idea. College was a bad idea. High school was probably a waste of time too. Fuck. I should stop.

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romothesavior
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Re: Thoughts from a law professor

Postby romothesavior » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:05 am

chup wrote:OP's authenticity is now confirmed.

To address the blog post from the view of having been on TLS for a number of years, I actually think this site now does a generally good job of warning people about the enormous risk of law school. This has not always been the case. In 2007-08, when I first started posting, it wasn't at all uncommon to see people debating the relative merits of this or that T4 at full sticker, and people who said it was stupid/not worth it were generally in the minority and even outright ignored. Even before the crash happened this outlook (rightfully, IMO) earned TLS some derision from places like xoxo, which was much more cynical/realistic about prospects at lower-ranked schools (though how much of that was due to healthy skepticism and how much of it was about chasing "prestige," I have no idea). Now, if someone asks whether they should attend anything ranked lower than Emory on anything less than a full ride, the default response is something along the lines of "retake and apply T14." Admittedly, our law school profiles don't really reflect the consensus in the forums, and they tend to parrot the misleading employment statistics provided by the schools themselves. This is partially due to the fact that the profiles are sort of a separate project, so they're not written/edited by mods or admins. But anyone who bothers to glance over the forums with an open mind will quickly learn what kind of gamble they are making.

All that said, even if someone makes it into a top school without incurring a lot of debt, that doesn't necessarily mean going to law school is the right decision. Though TLS and other sites have done a good job of alerting prelaw applicants to the relative risks of attending law school, I don't think they've spent as much time encouraging applicants to think about whether it's the right decision for them. Part of this stems from the fact that that sort of analysis involves a lot of introspection and personal calculations. It's easy to scream at someone for being an idiot when they post about taking out $180,000 of non-dischargeable debt to attend Nova Southeastern. It's a lot harder to tell someone going to UVA on full ride that they might not be happy or fulfilled pursuing law as a career. I actually agree with Justice Scalia on this point: too many smart and capable people still view law school as a (relatively) safe default.

Great post, and I agree 100%.




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