TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Now Is A Great Time To Go To Law School: Your Nation Needs You

Law.com op-ed:  Why Go to Law School?, by Paula Franzese (Seton Hall):

This is an important moment for lawyers and law students. In the midst of rollbacks to civil liberties, lawyers are uniquely trained to safeguard and champion the promise of equal access to justice. We are equipped with a particular skill set that assures access to the legal system and all three branches of government. We are vested with the fiduciary duty to use that access to vindicate the rights of those who have been left out and left behind.

Reinhold Niebuhr was correct when he observed, “Love is the motive, justice is the instrument.” Lawyers are justice’s emissaries. Our work can be the antidote to hopelessness and can restore agency to communities and constituencies that have been marginalized and worse. The pernicious effects of de jure and de facto discrimination continue to be felt. There is a growing chasm between what is and what ought to be in contexts that include safe and affordable housing, the environment, criminal justice, education, immigration, privacy rights, freedom of expression and more. Law school provides the training and professional and social capital to do the work to narrow that gap.

No matter the naysayers and outliers, the legal profession is esteemed and noble. The good lawyer is an exemplar, able to show the face of justice pursued.

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/11/now-is-a-great-time-to-go-to-law-school-your-nation-needs-you.html

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Comments

And for the ~42% of law school graduates who fail to land real lawyering jobs? How much do they help protect civil liberties? And exactly what social capital does going to law school bestow? One might point out that the unemployment rate for recent law school grads is still flirting with 10% while the unemployment rate for the entire 25-34 demographic, of whom only 2 in 5 has a college degree at all, is like 4.5%. For that matter, if law school "provides the training," why does the op-ed author herself feel the need to be a Barbri instructor?

Posted by: Unemployed Northeastern | Nov 7, 2017 1:25:08 PM

Totally agree. I think now is a particularly great time for all those college on experiencing first hand what progressive viewpoint control looks like to go to law school. Go to law school, get on the bench, get in the courts and fight for freedom of thought, speech and liberty...

Posted by: Anon | Nov 7, 2017 2:20:03 PM

Totally agree. I think now is a particularly great time for all those on college campuses experiencing first hand what progressive viewpoint control looks like to go to law school. Go to law school, get on the bench, get in the courts and fight for freedom of thought, speech and liberty...

Posted by: Anon | Nov 7, 2017 2:21:06 PM

Good God - where to begin. This is a call to be a social justice warrior, based only on the author's notion of right and wrong.

"In the midst of rollbacks to civil liberties..." Compared to when?? Does the author envision a prior golden age? Has the author ever been outside of the US? One has far fewer civil liberties in Canada or the UK than in the US. Or is there one particular civil liberty the author is focusing on?

"We are equipped with a particular skill set that assures access to the legal system and all three branches of government" I attended an Ivy League law school and have a post JD degree. I must have missed the class that gave me a particular access to the executive branch, let alone the legislative branch. (I could help an elected representative to DRAFT a bill, though.)

Finally, "...We are vested with the fiduciary duty [sic] to use that access to vindicate the rights of those who have been left out and left behind." In standard English a fiduciary is a person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more parties. Typically, a fiduciary prudently takes care of money or other asset for another person. The author seems to imply that my legal degree creates an ethical requirement to succor those left out or behind.

Finally, "No matter the naysayers and outliers, the legal profession is esteemed and noble." Where are lawyers are esteemed - it must be in the next town over. There are fine lawyers, but please - esteemed - the mind boggles
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Posted by: aircav65 | Nov 7, 2017 2:31:01 PM

Sure. Go to law school if you are happy graduating with a mountain of debt and working at a law firm mill.

Posted by: Chris | Nov 8, 2017 2:38:02 AM

The problems are in order (1) after $150,000 of educational debt, lawyers are too expensive for the middle class and (2) so much of practicing law is boring with no iota of intellectual spark.

Posted by: OldLawProf | Nov 8, 2017 4:13:10 PM

Whenever I hear "the legal profession is esteemed and noble," or something to that effect, I can't help but think of "for Brutus is an honorable man."

Posted by: brad | Nov 8, 2017 4:29:04 PM