Thursday, July 12, 2007

What I'm Thinking Today

It's easy to understand that intelligent people ignorant to the lay of the law would suppose both that the questions, "where did you learn the law?" and "where did you go to law school?", would be similarly answered. Not. True.

Whoever it was that first said that you don't learn how to be a lawyer in law school was dead right. By this point in my summer, I've perfected the 'head nod in pensive reflection' move that is vital when receiving a work assignment. It's not lecture notes or textbooks that subsequently get me through each memo or draft. It's the repeated exercise of locating relevant precedent to serve as a model to build new versions of agreements and solve current problems. Law school is a play pen. If more people realized this while still in law school, maybe it wouldn't seem such a high strung race to the moon.

If programs were really trying to train lawyers, law school should be substantially, or even entirely, apprentice based. Just like it was back in Justice Jackson's day. The fact that thousands of people every year fork over three years and layer on an additional 180k of debt for a professional program that fails to provide the skill set of that profession is really startling.

But, not shocking. Young people like to meet others in kind and feel like they are doing something "productive" with their lives. Law schools like money. Law firms want to do as little of the heavy lifting in getting recruits into billing form as possible. Plus, among other reasons, it's quite a boondoggle for a profession to keep their guild exclusive by making hurdles to admission many and lofty.

So goes the cycle and the charade.

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