Friday, September 11, 2009

Up the Creek if You Go to a TTT

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who passed the Iowa Bar Exam. The only problem is that this person has no job offers. And then there are those pesky, little things known as student loans that we must eventually pay back. I have now been inspired to post this entry.

Professor James Adams of Drake University teaches Evidence at the law school. He has apparently taught there for 35 years. These are his words, from his faculty profile:

Up the Creek

"One afternoon while fly fishing for cutthroat trout in particularly difficult conditions in Wyoming, I thought of fly fishing as a microcosm of legal practice: both require problem solving within ethical and physical or legal limits. Fly fishermen study casting theory, insect population and locations, and feeding habits. The sport also requires observation, instruction, a lot of backyard practice, and consideration of environmental ethics. Although I had not read anything about how to deal with that day's fishing challenges, prior reading and simulations provided the analytical foundation for solving the problem and catching a 15-inch trout.

On a larger scale, law school provides a solid theoretical base and develops students' ethical awareness and analytical skills through reading, instruction, simulation and guided clinical legal practice. The practitioner then can effectively and ethically solve the frequent non-textbook situations that appear in a legal practice and other facets of life. Law is like fly fishing. You cast perfectly in the backyard, but each stream is different and each day on the stream is different."

Law is like fly fishing – wow, this is DEEP, penetrating advice. The only thing I like about this faculty profile is the title, Up the Creek. This is a perfect analogy on so many levels: First, so many law students end up a proverbial creek with massive student loan debt and no job prospects.

Secondly, this “Ellis and Nelle Levitt Distinguished Professor of Law” has helped reel in so many unsuspecting small fry and big fish from small ponds. I imagine he has done so in a "distinguished" manner. Actually, I have seen this man in action. He teaches Evidence and he apparently lives to instill the fear of God in his students. He actually seems to have contempt for his students - maybe it is because we were not smart enough to get into a T14 school. What is so noble about cutting down law students? I suppose the school feels that length of teaching indicates prominence.

Lastly, the law school industry thrives on the old bait and switch. The schools aggressively bill themselves as providing stellar legal educations which will in turn produce successful, financially secure lawyers who will be able to use their law degrees to help better society. They put out incomplete, distorted and false salary info and job statistics. They do so to lure in unsuspecting law students. Damn, James. I could not have said it better myself. Up the creek, indeed.


  1. Damn, if the distinguished professor was a real lawyer, he probably wouldn't have the time or money to be fly fishing in Wyoming thinking profound thoughts.

    Just writing that poetic drivel should get him fired.

    (Oops, I forgot about tenure.)

    Great post.

  2. Kudos to you for trying to get the word out. Law school is a scam.

    I finally paid off my loans last year 15 yrs after graduating. I was given a half tuition scholarship because of superb LSAT score but because I didn't write for law review or do great academically the school had no interest in helping me, or the 85% of the class like me, to find any kind of job. For years and years it was nothing but struggle People blamed me for my failures. After all I was a lawyer, I was privileged and the world was my oyster, right?

    I am very bitter about my experience, and my heart goes out to the students and new lawyers who now find themselves under the rock it took me years to crawl out from under. The only "good thing" to come out of this horrible experience? I am a highly overeducated person with a lot of compassion for people. I am "senior" at my white-collar-but-no-job-security job, but my closest buddies at work are the immigrant who cleans the toilets, the receptionist, and the cafeteria sandwich maker.

  3. amen to that! Most of my fellow classmates were worthless pricks. I'm not going to the reunion, obviously.

  4. who is venecer on JD Underground? He's an idiot!


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