How to Feed a Lawyer (and Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground)

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Eh Nonymous

Nice "radical" article, Evan. It tracks things I was thinking about during my third year.

As a 2L, I heard some 3Ls grousing, saying that there should only be 2 years of law school. "After all, we have our jobs lined up after 2nd year, and that usually turns out to be where you start your career." And, surely, some law students don't learn a single thing their third year, doing, at most, three things:

- being in charge, finally, of the extracurricular group, or the journal, or whatever
- teaching legal writing, or being a TA for a class, or being a research assistant to a professor, depending on what the law school allows
- blowing off class, since "they've already got the offer."

For some of those folks, 3L is a wasted year, counting out the days and "bored to death" as the slogan goes.

Law school: Scared to death, worked to death, bored to death.

I worked hardest my second year, I agree, and I was more scared before my first semester exams than was at all reasonable, but bored was not how I spent my third year. Well, only about one class out of it. Name of professor withheld to protect his reputation, not that he needs my help. His class was the most practical, by the by: he taught us about interviewing a client, who might be untrustworthy and certainly does not know the law as well as we (2Ls and 3Ls) did, even though they knew their problem better than we did. He taught us (poorly, I think) about how to frame a claim, how to examine a witness, how to do an argument. He shared his "wisdom" with us, and it came out as cynicism.

Some of the students lost respect for trial lawyers or trials as a result of that class. Some lost respect for him. I grew and lost my respect for him, because he is a cheap showman who wins verdicts using borderline-unconscionable stunts, and because he was not true to the law. He's a Trial Lawyer, in the worst possible sense, and does personal injury and that kind of thing. Ambulance chaser? Well, someone's got to be out at the victim's house in the middle of the night, eating a ham sandwich and trying to snag that million-dollar client. Frankly, I'd rather choke (or starve) than do that. Fortunately, ethical lawyers can make a living too.

Not that all plaintiff's lawyers, even in personal injury or malpractice or products liability or what have you, are unethical. But apparently, some of them are. Sleazebags.

Sorry, what were talking about?

Oh. Well, if you can find ethical lawyers to apprentice to, great. But if the best you can do is some successful shark in a pinstriped suit, you're better off with law professors. Learn some law, and avoid losing your way.


I have to agree with the commenters on the Althouse thread who believe the usual 3L program--i.e. "more of the same"--is a waste. Doctors spend part of their education doing supervised work; why can't we? Does anyone really believe one more year of classes is superior to a year of clinical work?

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