The Hubris of Would-Be Lawyers

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The Hubris of Would-Be Lawyers

Postby lawschoolblows » Wed Apr 14, 2010 11:34 pm

Good read: ... e-lawyers/

BTW the author of that article is a Harvard alum, and the site's founder went to Yale.

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Re: The Hubris of Would-Be Lawyers

Postby td6624 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:33 am


I dunno. I don't expect to make 160k or anything close. Perhaps that's why I'm taking a substantial scholarship? I am pretty worried. But who knows. Maybe it'll work out.

I cannot imagine paying sticker anywhere outside of the T6 or so at this point though.

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Re: The Hubris of Would-Be Lawyers

Postby djgoldbe » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:41 pm

Call me a gigantic nerd, but I'm pretty sure he got his LOTR quote wrong...

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Re: The Hubris of Would-Be Lawyers

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:54 am

djgoldbe wrote:Call me a gigantic nerd, but I'm pretty sure he got his LOTR quote wrong...

GIGANTIC NERD. Lol you know we love ya.

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Re: The Hubris of Would-Be Lawyers

Postby KibblesAndVick » Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:18 am

Freakonomics Chapter 3, Levitt and Dubner 2005 wrote:The problem with crack dealing is the same as in every other glamor profession: a lot of people are competing for a very few prizes. Earning big money in the crack gang wasn’t much more likely than the Wisconsin farm girl becoming a movie star or the high-school quarterback playing in the NFL. But criminals, like everyone else, respond to incentives. So if the prize is big enough, they will form a line down the block just hoping for a chance. On the south side of Chicago, people wanting to sell crack vastly outnumbered the available street corners. These budding drug lords bumped up against an immutable law of labor: when there are a lot of people willing and able to do a job, that job generally doesn’t pay well. This is one of four meaningful factors that determine a wage. The others are the specialized skills a job requires, the unpleasantness of a job, and the demand for services that the job fulfills.

The delicate balance between these factors helps explain why, for instance, the typical prostitute earns more than the typical architect. It may not seem as though she should. The architect would appear to be more skilled (as the word is usually defined) and better educated (again, as usually defined). But little girls don’t grow up dreaming of becoming prostitutes, so the supply of potential prostitutes is relatively small. Their skills, while not necessarily “specialized,” are practiced in a very specialized context. The job is unpleasant and forbidding in at least two significant ways: the likelihood of violence and the lost opportunity of having a stable family life. As for demand? Let’s just say that an architect is more likely to hire a prostitute than vice versa.

In the glamour professions—movies, sports, music, fashion— there is a different dynamic at play. Even in second-tier glamour industries like publishing, advertising, and media, swarms of bright young people throw themselves at grunt jobs that pay poorly and demand unstinting devotion. An editorial assistant earning $22,000 at a Manhattan publishing house, an unpaid high-school quarterback, and a teenage crack dealer earning $3.30 an hour are all playing the same game, a game that is best viewed as a tournament.

The rules of a tournament are straightforward. You must start at the bottom to have a shot at the top. ( Just as a Major League shortstop probably played Little League and just as a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan probably started out as a lowly spear-carrier, a drug lord typically began by selling drugs on a street corner.) You must be willing to work long and hard at substandard wages. In order to advance in the tournament, you must prove yourself not merely above average but spectacular. (The way to distinguish yourself differs from profession to profession, of course; while J. T. certainly monitored his foot soldiers’ sales performance, it was their force of personality that really counted—more than it would for, say, a shortstop.) And finally, once you come to the sad realization that you will never make it to the top, you will quit the tournament. (Some people hang on longer than others—witness the graying “actors” who wait tables in New York— but people generally get the message quite early.) Most of J. T.’s foot soldiers were unwilling to stay.

This isn't anything new nor is it limited to the legal profession.

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Re: The Hubris of Would-Be Lawyers

Postby sundevil77 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 12:53 pm


Very true. The forces of supply and demand are at work in any labor market. What is odd to me is that law is treated like it's the path to wealth, power, and fame. I think most applicants are at least a little bit ignorant of reality. Law students get themselves $150K in debt and then line up for a job that requires them to work 80 hrs./week. And, if they ever want to make it big time (i.e. actually GET the wealth, power, and fame they seek), they'll have to put in more time and effort than any other associate in the firm. I really think people go to law school for the perceived stability of the profession. If they really wanted wealth, power, or fame, they probably should do something different.

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