Whatever anyone says, I want my Golden Ticket. That’s why I’ve decided to go to law school.
Like little Charlie Bucket in Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, I believe my golden ticket is my big chance to make my way.
Against popular opinion, and even the American Bar Association’s reports on the unemployment rate for newly minted J.D.s, I still romantically believe that law school has value and presents opportunities I may not have otherwise.
Meet Jessie Freud, a young woman writing a guest column at Forbes and hellbent on going to law school. This is Judge Schweitzer's "reasonable consumer." The person we're supposed to believe can do a careful analysis of the value of law school and reach an intelligent decision. Yet just look at her words. She says she's heard about how bad the legal market is but still wants to go. Because she's done a careful cost/benefit analysis? No. Because she has any idea what law school or the practice of law entails? Not a clue!
She wants to go to law school because of her romanticized ideals about law school's value and the opportunities it presents. Bless your heart, believing in the value of law school does not make it so. The endless good thoughts of admissions deans and 0Ls does not draw jobs to law schools. The market is in ruins and has shown no signs of improvement. You can't romanticize your way out of it.
Worst of all, Ms. Freud is attending Nova Southeastern, a fourth tier diploma mill where 9.3% of grads are unemployed and seeking work, and a full 26.8% are under-employed 9 months after graduation. [LST] Nova has a worse unemployment rate that the country at large. This is not a value-added institution.
This hopefully means that I will make some, while hanging onto that fondness.
I am wishfully counting on the whole concept of if-you-work-hard-good-things-will-happen.
Scientific, I’m sure.
Most importantly, I want to do something I believe in. The curse of a girl in her twenties. Being a lawyer should give me that flexibility.
How hard I want to work to make that happen is up to me.
A degree can get me in the door, but over the threshold and into a corner office, or cubicle (let’s not be picky), will always be my burden to carry.
Negotiating my fair worth and networking to get where I want to be is also up to me.
Getting in to a corner office, or even a corner cubicle will be your burden, yes, that's true. Also, getting your foot in the door will be your burden because a degree from a fourth tier law school basically gets you in to the family firm and nowhere else. 30.1% of Nova grads landed in firms of 2-10 attorneys. You can bet a lot of those were the family (or family friend) shops or fresh grads co-shingling.
You also won't have the freedom to do something you believe in. If you want to follow your passion the most important thing you can do is be debt free. For grads of the class of 2016, Nova will cost over $220,000. Even if you manage to get out with half that debt you're still six figures in the hole, an amount that will cripple your career choices, as well as the remaining years of your 20s.
But if I can do this, and stick with my intention, I know I will be in a position far stronger with a law degree, than without one.
The out of pocket expenses, the opportunity costs, and the stigma of a junk law degree will not leave you in a far stronger position. It will be a net loss both in terms of earning potential and career satisfaction.
Please, Ms. Freud, we know it can be exciting to have a dream and plunge headlong into it, but just look at what you're doing. You're jeopardizing your future on an extremely risky venture all the while saying "I've seen the evidence, but choose to ignore it." Does that sound like the attitude a future lawyer should take? Ignoring multiple unambiguous warning sides that you're headed for disaster?
If you really believe that you have the work ethic and skills to get ahead in an increasingly competitive legal market, then put those traits to use now and get yourself a better LSAT score and go to a much better school. If you can't do better on the LSAT, know that doing well in law is much, much harder.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.