Over the past year, the number of news articles and blogs that have been published in order to draw into question the wisdom of going to law school has been impressive. The popular legal tabloid, Above the Law, consistently urges people to stay away from law school while at least eight blogs do the same on a daily basis. The National Law Journal, the L.A. Times, and the Wall Street Journal (among other publications) have printed stories or op-eds assailing the ABA and the present law school system.
While much of this coverage has been met with strong support by those who have been wronged by the law school industry (and a number of neutral observers), there has inevitably been a bit of a backlash.
Obviously, this exposure is unwelcome news to those who profit off of the industry, but there has also been some criticism from those who are (at least allegedly) detached from the law school profit machine.
Most of these people are satisfied, practicing attorneys. To them, these attacks are foreign to their own experiences and are offensive to the career that they enjoy.
In some cases, these are just those at the top of the legal food chain taunting us with what amounts to little more than "Nya, Nya, a boo boo! I got a 170+ LSAT score and yooouuu didn't!" In other instances, it's simply the reality-challenged response of some old codger who graduated law school back when he could also go to the county fair and get cotton candy, a soda pop, and ride the Cyclone and still get change back from his nickel.
Admittedly, however, there are a few legitimate voices out there of people who truly enjoy practicing law. They didn't necessarily go to the best schools or get the best grades. Nonetheless, they were able to make it as attorneys and couldn't imagine doing anything else.
While they may not appreciate some of the commentary from the anti-law advocates, I don't think these people should necessarily be opposed to us.
Why? Well, I think most of us would agree that the world needs at least some lawyers. Our criticism is really aimed at how legal training is currently provided.
If anything, the prevailing system makes it more difficult for people who truly want to be lawyers to actually realize their dreams. The heavy debt load and glut of lawyers makes finding reasonable entry level work quite difficult.
What good does it do for anyone (save the law school industry) to throw so many attorneys (many of whom just want a job not a calling) onto the market with such punishing debt loads?
What sense is there in defending a system that doesn't even train budding attorneys as to how they should practice their future craft?
Aren't plenty of potentially good attorneys and caring advocates flushed out of the back of the law school toilet because they weren't able to pull off a top LSAT score or nail straight A's on a bunch of theoretically focused exams that bear little resemblance to the actual practice of law?
Why should those with a passion for the law have to compete with reams less interested graduates who went to law school in search of high starting salaries, stable careers, or versatile degrees - based upon the distorted statistics and information provided by the schools?
I had no business going to law school. Some people do. That's fine, but wouldn't we be better off with a system that taught these people how to be attorneys and didn't try to rope the rest of us into handing over our student loan dollars only to have all of us fighting over the limited number of entry level positions?