Duncan, you are missing the point. These so-called "disparaging" comments are not made out of malice, this is real advice and perspective given by people who have been on that path, or who have a different perspective on it. It is not wise to simply view it as something that must be challenged - stop and listen with an open mind. It is simply advice that may prevent someone from making a very costly mistake. The perspective is that rather than invest time and money on a likely worthless JD, one may want to consider some other training or degree.
This idea that doors will suddenly be opened to new opportunity within existing careers is not a common reality - it certainly is not if one is planning on suddenly becoming in-house counsel. Companies generally look for Sr. Associate/Partner level people for in-house, not a newbie from a non-ABA school. The legal department will not look at you differently b/c you come from some other branch of the company with specialized knowledge - this is not meant to be harsh, but in-house legal does not need or want new lawyers from within the company. You need to seriously, critically, and specifically ask yourself WHAT doors will open? WHAT do they lead to? HOW do they open? "Doors will open" is as nebulous and non-descript as "hope and change." WHAT ARE THE DETAILS? If those opportunities exist right now, today, why are they not filled then?
I appreciate your insight, Hamilton. I would submit that some disparaging comments that I've read have been made rather smugly, and as I've stated previously, may even betray a certain insecurity in the person giving the advice. On the other hand, much of the advice to stick with ABA schools is solid and well-reasoned. I know very well that I'm arguing a tough case here. The details that you're calling for I'm not going to divulge on an open internet forum, just as a matter of prudence. I work for a national company and I'm attending law school under the guidance and mentoring of three of my company's attorneys. It would be fair to say that not all people have access to such valuable contacts and tutelage. But I would ask you to weigh from the several posts I've made on this thread whether I sound like a person who has not seriously, critically, and specifically asked himself whether admission to the bar would or would not open any doors? I made a thorough inquiry of my company well before I ever took the LSAT. The reality for me is that not all doors will fling wide open just because I pass the bar. But plenty of others will. Those doors are closed today because I'm not an attorney. I should note here that I'm not blazing any new trails, Hamilton. I merely saw where other audacious travelers went before, and decided to follow the same path.