Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Law School Angst

Law school angst gets people in different ways. The best way to go through law school is to figure out what role you fit and accept it. That said:

Law school admissions is a combination of LSAT (which MENSA accepts as an IQ test) and undergrad GPA. At the top there may some with relatively high scores on both ends but most of the students are either bright and lazy or industrious and not as bright. Because law school has figured out the rubric, almost everyone in your class is equally capable. The lazy geniuses are about as capable as the hard working. The law school grading scale then takes these virtually indistinguishable masses and tries to tier out their ability through scaled classes. Most of these exams are very similar. Few excel, few are really terrible. Most of the rest of us wind up in the block of random grades between B+ and C+. The only difference between B+ and C+ papers is the discretion of the professor.

These grades, while mostly random, mean everything. A student ranked at the 24% can expect double digit on campus interviews while a student ranked at the 26% will get almost none. You would never be able in a million years to tell the difference between these two people outside of those two numbers (most likely the difference between a B and B+ in a two hour course). But based on these percentage numbers from your first semester (one sixth of your law school career), you are either in or out. By the time you finish your first year, you likely have all the grades you will ever need if you get employment during your second summer. After the first year, any student trying to improve his/her standing will never really catch up for bigger law jobs.

Most law students go to law school to make a difference in the world. At least that's what we write on our admissions essays. But the entire law school experience is set up to dangle prestigious, high paying, legal cog jobs in front of us. Almost no public interest, criminal, plaintiff, or small law firms are invited to interview on campus. This means that if you want an alternate career that will lower the average starting salary of our grads which will reflect poorly on the US News rankings, you're on your own.

In short, you work and find out it makes no difference in your grades. You get the honors they make a big deal out of and find out it isn't enough to get the jobs you want. Law school is a big exercise in contentment when you realize that no matter what your mama told you, you really aren't that special. No matter how awesome you were in undergrad, no matter what kind of juggernaut you used to be, here, you will likely be one of the masses. Half of the people will be below average and they remind you of that every time you open your report card. It's being told that the reasons you were going to law school were wrong, discouraging you from helping, then letting you know you aren't qualified for the jobs they pushed you towards. That is the center of the angst.

At least, that's how I see it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

@ work related

Assuming you still read this blog occasionally, you happy now that the angst is back?

Don't worry, I promise more raccoon nonsense in the future regardless. At least now I'm filled with a sickening degree of apathy, coupled with a healthy dose of righteous fury again, eh?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ein Toast

To the end of zee semester. Fuck you. If I could, I would burn you to death with tiny fires. You have tormented me in the most hideous manners imaginable...even blog-people would not understand. Here's to you and my eternal quest to torture and murder you in your sleep.

Brief addendum:

On second thought, murdering you in your sleep might not be sufficiently satisfying. I need to flay you with the sharpened edges of my secured transactions book and papercuts from Prof. Tree Dweller's horrendously deceptive Enviro I exam.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Statistics and Late Night Thoughts

There are just over 300 Million people in the United States. There are approximately 1.1 Million lawyers in the United States. There are an additional 150,000 law students in the United States so we add about 50,000 lawyers per year.

That works out to one lawyer for every 262 people in the U.S. There are 16 million complaints (lawsuits) filed every year in the United States. That gives each lawyer 16 cases to work per year.

Obviously there are cases to work that never get filed but it does make you think. Are there just too many of us out there? What motivates people to go to law school to begin with? Does anybody here remember?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Good Reads

Two other blogs I've read that made the Blawg 100:

Gerry Spence's blog. He is one of the best criminal defense lawyers ever. His book on trial advocacy is high on my Christmas list. He has a blog. He writes on murder, capital punishment, and trial technique. Small, but good community.

That's What She Said blog on the civil liability incurred by our friends at The Office. They will try to put a dollar amount on the crazy actions of Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, and the others at Dunder Mifflin. Great way to learn employment law.

At this point I'll read anything to keep from studying for this next exam but these two were definitely worth the time.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sucks to be this guy

So there's a guy who graduated from Michigan State. Went to get an LLM. Racked up $150k in student loans. Sent out 300 resumes. And got one job interview. Story here.

I think the sad thing is, this doesn't surprise me. I have friends here with good resumes that are going to really surprising frontier outposts or are still looking for work despite sending out almost this many resumes. Granted, no LLM, but for just regular law work, you wouldn't think that would matter.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Congratulations Sharon

Congratulations to Sharon--our favorite grammarian--for being named to the ABA's Blawg 100 list. Her blog, Thank You Ma'am was one of the top student blogs. I guess that's what you get when you actually blog about something as opposed to us who give voice to the frustration and subsequent apathy of this era of law students. Instead of discussing this intelligently, I usually settle for a generic gripe and a video about nothing.

Anyway, congrats again!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why Exams Are the Best Time of Year

So my secured transactions exam is tomorrow. The prof is giving us a true 1L issue-spotting exam, but I can't bring myself to hate her because she's a bright-eyed baby prof who hasn't been torched by academia OR practice yet. It seems that way at least. Either that, or I'm just seeing what I want to see.

I care so much about this final that I've studied for roughly 4 hours out of the last two weeks, even though my de facto holiday/finals "break" started before the week of Thanksgiving. My weapons loadout for this exam will include the internet, a gift outline, and the 2000 edition of the secured transactions Nutshell. Right now, I am sipping an admittedly weak gin and tonic while watching West Wing Season 1. Earlier, I chewed through half of Scrubs Season 7.

If I could stroll out of there two hours early with a C-, I would take it and never look back.

I'm not sure "apathy" is the appropriate term anymore. As long as I don't fail any hours I'll have to make up later, thereby extending my tenure in the Fifth Circle where Dante says the slotful go, I'll ecstatically snatch my diploma from the Dean's hands, punch him in the balls, and sprint from the building...all with a goofy-ass grin on my face. Then I'll start studying from the bar ("for" the bar is merely incidental) and the grin will vanish.


So I'm finishing teaching myself an entire semester worth of material in three days. Yeah. That's going well. I swear every semester I won't do this but every semester, I do. Again, I, El Guapo, as a master of procrastination, went in search of Christmas music that hasn't been played on my Christmas radio station here in town. For all the fans of Die Hard out there, I present Run DMC's Christmas in Hollis.

I love this song. I give it credit for sampling my favorite soul man, Clarence Carter's Back Door Santa WHICH IS DECIDEDLY NOT A CHRISTMAS SONG!