Law in Contemporary Society
-- JocelynCazares - 02 Jun 2015

Is Law School Failing?

Law School

The Pitch

Want to be a lawyer? Go to law school! They will teach you all you need to know. It will teach you how to make things happen! Plus a $160k starting salary? You're set, go to law school.

The Market

There has been a decrease in applicants in the last five years. However, law school continues to be one of the most popular post-grad degrees to pursue. Despite being one of the most expensive degrees and a rougher job market since the financial crisis of 2008, the pitch continues to reel people in. Many families still view it as one of only three degrees that are deemed worthwhile to pursue.

The Question to Ask

The choice to pursue law raises more concern than traditionally, often being referred to as a high-risk gamble for job security. The internet bombarded with sites and articles asking: law school, to go or not to go. However, the appropriate question is:
Law school, does it work? Does it do as promised, as is pitched?
This is the proper inquiry that allows for a fruitful exploration of law school. Though question leading to information regarding job prospects, salaries, competition, debt, loan repayment program, etc. may further inform a prospect of their future, this questions facilitates reality for the prospective students of law (whether they are to become lawyers relies on the answer to this question).

Narrowing the Scope: The Promise to be a Lawyer
The question of whether law school is failing is obviously dependent on who is asking the question. The inquisitors are the many, if not the vast majority, come to law school to be lawyers. This is the pitch in the forefront of law schools' marketing schemes. Come to law school, we will make you lawyers. It is vital for people to understand that the law school is the product of romanticism and marketing. The image of law school as a learning process, the delving into the mechanics of being a lawyer and the workings of the legal system, is a facade. For those lawyers-want-to-bes, law school is failing. Law school is succeeding for those who expect law school to be a giant networking marathon-a means to acquiring the necessary contacts. That is not to say that law students cannot exist law school without the toolkit to lawyer, it simply means that the actual law school curriculum is not built to serve his purpose. It is not even built to serve the purpose of the BAR exam as many will be open about the fact that by the time it is to be taken, any practical knowledge is by far gone (if it ever was learned).

From the Perspective of a Law Student
The entire business that is law school is actually built in a way that breads fear and utilizes it to get students to do as the all-powerful administration want. Rather fostering a “learning” environment in which students are eager to learn and encouraged to inquisitive, students are perpetually in fear of jeopardizing their careers from the moment they begin. From the first day until the last, it is drilled into our heads that this is professional school, we are professionals, and every moment from orientation and on will forever follow us coloring our aptitude as professionals. The go-to cherished Socratic method promotes brevity of knowledge instead actual interaction with the material for fear that the professor will call on us, and god forbid we don’t know the answer. Moreover, the lecture approach to learning core materials in our first year is antithetical to any critical thought about the material we are being thought. Meanwhile, the attempt to contextualize the theoretical that law professors seem to dwell in is minimized, made to seem irrelevant, a fruitless, thought exercise. Thus, for those interested in learning how to effectuate the law, the three years and immense price tag are not resulting in much. Those interested in the tangible execution of the law and how it operates within society, law school will not instruct you. Fixated on principles like the “reasonable” person standard and mens rea, law school is not interested in addressing their societal implications or origins. It’s not within the curriculum to acknowledge that these “infallible” legal principles are products of mythology of the all-knowing privileged, white male perspective. Law school fails to provide the much-needed venue to discuss and recognize that the law is not an objective and infallible thing, but rather riddled with inconsistencies and arbitrariness that propagate inequities. Thus once again, law school fails for those entering it with the purpose of learning how to begin their own practice in making the law more reflective of the society it is supposed to work for, and not simply the privileged, the intricate interplay of race and law must be brought to the forefront.

How to Play

However, that is not to say law school is failing in its own objectives. It is then crucial to understand what is that the law school is seeking to accomplish in order for prospective students to know if law school is the decision they want to make and for current student to make the most of the situation they are in. Law schools are interested in number, plain and simple. They care about their rankings and will do anything to ensure they break the illustrious T-14 rank. Meaning, law schools succeed in providing the data necessary for these clearly flawed ranking systems, regardless of whether it leads to a better legal education or not. Therefore, law schools (especially those who have mastered the art of creating the perfect fašade of job placement that enables their T-14 status) are succeeding in herding its students to careers they feel are safe, in providing the network of contacts to protect statistics. Thus for anyone seeking for more, they must learn this, capitalize on the contacts, and realize that they will have to self-start, serve, and champion for anything beyond the minimum.

As with the first essay, your highest priority for the improvement of your writing is better editing. Your paragraphs and your sentences should be shorter. Your outline should be tighter. Each point should be made once, in its proper place. Sentences should not be needed to explain the sentence you just finished writing. If you outline more tightly you will organize your writing by discipline: placing the sequence of paragraphs and sentences within the paragraphs in an external structure you can visualize and improve before writing begins. Once you have a draft that follows your outline rigorously, you can then use sentence-level editing to achieve grace, by removing unnecessary words. If you want to acquire skills that will help you be a better lawyer, find them in the acquisition of a writing style that is spare, economical, and precise. It will serve you better than a small fortune.

 

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r5 - 29 Jun 2015 - 22:00:26 - MarkDrake
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