Archive for law school

Reason Not to Go to Law School #18

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by bl1y

Blackacre.

I’ve commented before on the depressing state of lawyer humor, but Blackacre deserves its own entry.  If you’re not aware, Blackacre is a placeholder name when discussing property questions, and the ownership of Blackacre is typically unclear or in dispute, creating the question “Who owns Blackacre?”

If you go to law school, not only will you encounter the profoundly unfunny meme of “I own Blackacre,” but you will also encounter someone who thinks this is both hilarious and creative.  It’s neither.  Yet, there’s still a I Own Blackacre Facebook group with over 6400 members.  Here’s just a sampling of how incredibly unfunny Blackacre jokes are:

Rebecca S. (New England): “I got two family members to deed Blackacre to me in FSA [fee simple absolute].  Unfortunately, neither owned Blackacre, so I could only take a conveyance.”

Anthony W. (Massachusetts): “I don’t know how any of your can own own something, that I adversely possessed…and then blew-up!”

In 1628, Edward Coke made use the term Blackacre in a property treatise.  In 1629 all jokes about Blackacre ceased being funny.  It’s played out, get over it already and stop trying to make your sad little world appear amusing.

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Reason Not to Go to Law School #17

Posted in Why Not to Go to Law School with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by bl1y

You’re too smart/stupid to be a lawyer.

Too Smart.

Students who get into the top law schools are generally quite intelligent (or the beneficiaries of outdated affirmative action programs).  A score in the 95th percentile on the LSAT will qualify you for Mensa; this is about a 165-166.

The Duke Law class of 2010 had a 75/25 LSAT of 170/167.  If you’re unfamiliar with 75/25 stats, that means the 75th percentile got a 170 and the 25th percentile got a 167.  Given that there are several alternative routes to Mensa membership, virtually everyone at Duke could, if so inclined, become a member.  Duke is only ranked #10.

I don’t think Mensa membership is the first and last word on what constitutes genius, but I think this gives a pretty decent taste of how smart lawyers at the top schools are.  Even freaking Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia thinks we’re wasting too many smart people on law:

“Well, you know, two chiefs ago, Chief Justice Burger, used to complain about the low quality of counsel. I used to have just the opposite reaction. I used to be disappointed that so many of the best minds in the country were being devoted to this enterprise.

I mean there’d be a, you know, a defense or public defender from Podunk, you know, and this woman is really brilliant, you know. Why isn’t she out inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for this society?

I mean lawyers, after all, don’t produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. That’s important, but it doesn’t put food on the table and there have to be other people who are doing that. And I worry that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to this enterprise.

And they appear here in the Court, I mean, even the ones who will only argue here once and will never come again. I’m usually impressed with how good they are. Sometimes you get one who’s not so good. But, no, by and large I don’t have any complaint about the quality of counsel, except maybe we’re wasting some of our best minds.”

Now, not many lawyers have the engineering or mathematical aptitude to become great inventors, but surely there is something more productive and meaningful all these intelligent people could be doing with their time, like working in microfinance or inventing Settlers of Catan.

Too Stupid.

The flip side of the problem is that many law students are just too damn stupid to be trusted as attorneys.  For example, a girl I know who goes to a lower ranked Tier 1 law school in New Jersey came to me with a very serious situation.  Her neighbor had gone out of town for a few weeks, and had parked on the street in such a way that his car slightly blocked her drive way.  Well, one day she didn’t quite clear the car and ended up putting a minor scratch on it.

She did nothing about it and let several days pass.  Then, she came to be, completely freaking out, thinking that she could potentially be prosecuted for hit and run.  I decided to screw with her and say that she could.  But, any reasonable person would have two ways of quickly finding out that a criminal prosecution was not in the cards.

First, you could Google “New Jersey hit and run law” and figure out in about two minutes that one of the elements of hit and run is that someone has to be seriously injured.  When you scrape an unoccupied car, that’s not very likely to happen.

Second, you could tap into your general knowledge about American culture and remember the remedy for scratching a car: you leave a note, the owner calls you, you pay to fix the paint or whatever.  What doesn’t happen is you leave a note and the owner calls the cops and they throw you in prison for 18 months.

If you can’t manage a simple Google search, or understand extremely basic policy concepts, you shouldn’t be a lawyer.  And, if you’re reading this and think that you’re smarter than that, odds are you aren’t.  Her school is ranked in the 40-50 range, which is probably higher than your school.  You just think you’re smarter, but you’re too dumb to know you’re wrong.

Maybe there are some people who are just smart enough to handle the reading comprehension and logical reasoning law requires, but aren’t smart enough to do anything truly useful in society, but they probably account for less than 10% of current law students.

Reason Not to Go to Law School #16

Posted in Why Not to Go to Law School with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2010 by bl1y

Whiny minority kids.

As I’ve mentioned before, the Race to Be Offended is a pretty popular sport among ultra left-wing politically correct types, and law school is a breeding ground for them.  Normally people say dumb things when they’re in too much of a hurry to consider facts, such as a President calling a police officer stupid for investigating what appeared to be an obvious break in.

Now, imagine combining that level of stupidity with the drunken revelry that takes place on the last day of a semester’s exams in law school.

After the last exams of my 3L Fall semester, I was on the balcony of one of our dorms for the traditional drink-till-your-face-falls-off.  Towards the end, a black student and Jewish student got into a rather bizarre argument: who was treated worse, blacks or Jews.

Aside from the fact that it’s strange for anyone to even bother arguing over who’s discriminated against more (they couldn’t just agree that discrimination is bad; everyone wants to be special), what made this particularly bizarre was that they were arguing over which group was most discriminated against in universities.

They went to different schools, but no surprise, black student reported his school treated black students worse and Jewish student reported his school treated Jewish students worse.  Both of these students went to mother-freaking Ivy League schools for undergrad.

I knew both students, and neither one was a rags-to-riches story.  Both came from wealthy, influential families.  They were seriously arguing over who suffered the most from the discriminatory effects of education opportunities afforded to less than .01% of population.

Bridget Crawford is a Moron

Posted in Dumb Ideas Girls Have with tags , , , , , , on January 16, 2010 by bl1y

I mentioned this yesterday, but I just really feel like it’s needs some elaboration.  Pace Law professor Bridget Crawford is calling for a boycott of an NYSBA panel in which several prominent male members of the legal industry will give advice to women on how they can advance their careers.  About the panel, Crawford said:

“Men have been telling us FOR YEARS how we don’t measure up. To have a panel of men, endorsed by the New York State Bar Association, discussing our “strengths and weaknesses,” is a regression and an insult to all women in the legal profession.”

First, a quick note…Professor Crawford is not a member of the legal profession.  She is not a legal professional.  She is a member of the academic profession, and just happens to teach law.  Though, as far as academics and scholarship go, she mostly focuses on feminism, so she’s not really even teaching that much law.  She’s basically a sociology or gender studies professor.

But, on to the real issue.  I doubt Crawford objects to male attorneys interviewing female law students for summer jobs.  And, I doubt she objects to male attorneys being on law firm hiring committees, even when those committees make decisions about women.  And certainly she would allow a male partner for whom a female associate worked to provide a performance evaluation of that associate.  And, I bet she’d even be okay with male partners voting in partner meetings to decide whether a female associate should be promoted into the partnership.

So if men are already quite properly discussing the strengths and weaknesses of female attorneys, what’s so wrong with men giving insight into what they perceive as the strengths and weaknesses of their female coworkers?  Even if the men have completely ass-backwards ideas about women, it would be incredibly useful for women to know this.

I think what’s really going on here is that Professor Crawford saw that men were talking about women and decided to be offended.  The Race to be Offended is a popular pastime among feminists (and some other groups), but too often the race is won before anyone stops to consider whether they really ought to be offended in the first place.

Also, interesting factoid that might get lost in this whole mess: Pace University has a law school.  With dumbass professors like Ms. Crawford, it’s no wonder Pace is ranked a whole order of magnitude lower than the Third Tier Toilets.

Reason Not to Go to Law School #15

Posted in Why Not to Go to Law School with tags , , , , , , on January 16, 2010 by bl1y

1L Summer Jobs.

2L summer jobs are pretty much what all of law school revolves around, but few people pay much attention to the job you have after your first year of school.  Unless you’re very well connected, you’re not going to be working at a law firm.  You can’t rely on phenomenal grades to get these positions, because you won’t have any until February, and at that time law firms have been done with their summer hiring for months.

Most people end up getting jobs in one of three areas, public interest, research assistant for a professor, or not doing law at all.  I’m going to focus on the second, being an RA.

The work of an RA is tedious and dull, and you’ll receive very little guidance or wisdom from your professor.  Your professor is not a practitioner, but an academic, and as such has probably not practiced law in the last 20 years, if ever.  You will gain no useful knowledge or experience to prepare you for your for-profit sector work later on.

But even worse than having a summer job that results in no useful experience is the pay.

According to NYU’s Student Expense Budget for 2009-2010, you will need $20,914 for room and board the 9 months that you are in school, or about $2323 a month.  RA jobs there pay $12.50/hr, and professors can only hire you for no more than 35 hours a week (7 hours a day, 5 days a week).  So, one day of work gets you $87.50, and there are on average about 22 working days in a month, so you’ll be earning on average $1925 a month (before taxes), or about 20% less than what the school thinks you need.  Who the hell did the math on that one?

There is exactly one reason why the school can manage to pay so little and still get a pretty big number of students signing up for the jobs.  1L summer job prospects are just that lousy, even for students at the best schools.  Just imagine how shitty it’ll be if you go anywhere ranked worse.

BL1Y on ATL

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 15, 2010 by bl1y

Yesterday AbovetheLaw.com posted a link to Reason Not to Go to Law School #13 on their daily Non-Sequiturs.  An anonymous ATL commenter had this to say:

“Yet another wonderful reason not to go to law school:

There’s less chance you’ll wind up like Elie if you don’t”

Harvard Law Grad who’s job is to chase down industry gossip and edit a blog?  Elie Mystal has a pretty sweet job, I’d say.  Doubtful he makes close to even the salary of a first year associate, but his job probably affords him more power within the legal industry than most non-equity partners, and the ATL Editor in Chief chair comes with a good amount of prestige too.

Or, at least it did while David Lat sat in.

Anyways, thanks, ATL!  That link generated thousands of hits and propelled Reason #13 to 94th most popular WordPress blog entry for the day.

Reason Not to Go to Law School #14

Posted in Why Not to Go to Law School with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2010 by bl1y

Eggshell Sensitivities.

Lawyers and law students are touchy on anything remotely politically incorrect.  This is especially true for the lawyers who have vaginas, or the ones with penises who think being all sensitive will earn them the love of the ones with vaginas.

As reported on AbovetheLaw.com, New York State Bar Association Committee on Women in the Law is having their annual meeting soon, and one of the panals has got a whole lot of panties into bundles.

That’s right, the Committee on Women in the Law is having a panal to give a male perspective, and the women are pissed:

“I thought it was a joke until I went to the website myself. One female partner I showed it to is hoping that the NYSBA website was hacked and this still is a joke. She couldn’t believe it came from there.”

“[E]very female attorney I know that has seen this — partners to associates — is outraged. The first reaction is this is a joke. Then next is what year is this from. And the last is shocked and appalled. Most people don’t know where to start.”

And Pace Law professor Bridget Crawford is even calling for a boycott:

“I call for all members of the NYSBA to boycott this panel discussion. Yes, the speakers have a right to speak, but we don’t have to go and listen. Men have been telling us FOR YEARS how we don’t measure up. To have a panel of men, endorsed by the New York State Bar Association, discussing our “strengths and weaknesses,” is a regression and an insult to all women in the legal profession.”

But, David Lat provides a very good reason to hold this panel:

“But maybe you still need some advice for navigating the mean, cutthroat, male-dominated world of the legal profession. Ideally these tips should come from, you know…. MEN.”

Given that a huge part of being a female attorney means interacting with male attorneys, wouldn’t it be incredibly useful to know how those male attorneys perceive their female coworkers?  But no, I guess men aren’t allowed to know anything about women or offer women any sort of advice.

Keep that in mind the next time you complain about men not understanding women.  Maybe we do, but we pretend to know nothing about women so that you won’t jump down our throats for having the audacity to think we might have learned something about the other half of the population that we interact with every single day of our lives.