Friday, October 16, 2009
Attending an Upcoming Law School Fair
This afternoon, I was on the campus of my undergrad school. I was returning some library books, but the school is on semester break this week. As I was leaving, I came across a large banner notifying the unsuspecting world of an upcoming event of epic proportions - a law school fair. Oh joy! Well, I stood there in the plaza for a moment. As my knuckles turned white, I decided, at that instant, to crash this party. I will be at the Union Ballroom at the University of Utah on October 20th.
First, I will casually go from table to table and ask the admissions officers to show me how they came up with their employment and starting salary figures. I will ask them in front of interested students. I am sure this will upset the school representatives. But then again aren’t lawyers trained to use critical thinking and not simply take people or organizations at their word? I will also ask for a breakdown of employment, i.e. “Who is working tables, tending bar, teaching high school, or selling insurance nine months after graduation?” I will also ask for their response rate to the surveys, and what percentage of their graduates are working as paid attorneys. I will arm myself with bar passage rates from as many of the schools as I can.
Then, I will take this opportunity to distribute leaflets to pre-law students. I will also include links to websites such as JDU, Unemployed Lawyer, Skadden Farts, and several others. I will also have handouts showing the true state of the lawyer market. I will also provide news articles on the sad, shrinking legal market. Those interested in law need to be made aware of the fact that law school is a pitfall for most. It is truly an expensive proposition and a bad bet.
Next, I will talk to students and see what they expect from law school. I will then explain to them the harsh reality of law school – how the sleepless nights, constant stress, debt load, and time constraints do not, in any way, guarantee one even a fair chance at a successful career. The market is oversaturated and has been for decades. The market will not magically improve after this “economic recession” passes.
I understand that many cannot be dissuaded at this point. Many of the attendees have already bought into the lie, i.e. “I will go to law school, study my ass off, learn to think like a lawyer, make law review, do moot court, rub shoulders with the real movers and shakers of the legal community, get a summer clerkship after first year, make lots of money, easily pay off my student loans, maybe clerk for the Circuit Court of Appeals before joining a big corporate firm, etc.” Many are past the point of no return – many will have already registered with LSAC, submitted their transcripts and letters of recommendation. But I must try something.
Direct action is needed. I figure this is at least worth a shot; who knows? – maybe the school paper will be there. The worst case scenario is that I am asked to leave the fair. I am not concerned with getting arrested or fired. I will make sure that I break no laws. The event is free and open to the public. And I simply want to ask some questions of law school officers and inform the students of the scam.
If I can get even one or two people to reconsider their decision, then the effort will have been worth it.
Posted by Nando at 5:14 AM