Law School Discussion

Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?

Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2006, 07:18:56 PM »
Your idea of how respect is gained is interesting. If respect is earned, then I have no duty to pay respect to any stranger I meet. After all, since I don't know them and have never met them before they've done nothing to earn my respect. I can disrespect them any way I want, right? The idea that respect must be earned doesn't sound quite right to me. Respect is something that is automatically given, and then it can be lost.

Kentucky Hammer - thanks for posting substantive thoughts.  That is exactly what I was saying. It's amazing to find people on here who actually discuss ideas.  And feel free to disagree with whatever I say.  I never ask everyone to agree.  Civil discussions on disagreements over solutions and ideas not only educate both me and you, but are far more interesting than the sophmoric AOL Chat Room attacks that seem to prevail here.  But at least your are contributing positively.  Now, on to the others....

Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2006, 07:40:18 PM »
"We are all some of the smartest in the country.  We have knowledge people envy, and we know how to argue. "

Now that, kids, is what we call a classic case of developing gunner syndrome.

I was  not saying *I* am one of the brightest, I am saying people who attend law school are SOME of the brightest in the country.  Duh.  Look at who runs every government office.  Civil rights movement?  Wouldn't have gone anywhere without lawyers.  That was my only point.  It's really screwed up (or ignorant) you didn't understand what is essentially a fact.  Thus, what law school and law firms do to some of our country's best and brightest is ethically bankrupt.  That's my point.  If that's gunner's syndrome, so be it.  So is what we do to doctors during their residency - what those people suffer amounts to torture and threatens lives.  But I'm not in med school.

...wouldn't get wrapped up in the "oh my god I'm actually in law school, look I can have an opinion!" complex (i.e. "we are some of the smartest in the country") (and I wonder which law school that person actually attends?)...."We" is a broad group of people - and there are certainly plently of dumb ones.
  [I address this quote at the bottom]

First, thanks for not going for the "whiney female dog" tact less intelligent people than you use.

But what's the problem here?  On every thread I post I write:

1.  problems I see with the legal community and our educational program
2.  why they are problematic; and
3.  I propose a solution:  My solution is HERE

Not one of you anti-Chris Laurel postors has come up with one cogent argument against anything I say.  You attack me, attack what I use as representative samples of a larger problem, provide no evidence to back yourselves up, and only name-call and back slap each other over insults suited for MySpace, not a law school discussion board.

I suppose you guys think it bothers me, but it doesn't.  Everytime you post a personal attack on me, it is an opportunity to demonstrate how people like you run the country (Dems AND Repubs).  People like Giffy, Lincoln, lipper, deebre, etc.  What you do on this board people like you do in politics.  You personally attack the person, you never once address flaws in the ideas (unless just to say they are "stupid" - you all should try that on Moot Court as a line of reasoning and see where it gets you) and you grasp, comically, at straws to attack me, my background, my school, that I'm arrogant, a prick, etc.

But I have not attacked any of you.  I'm only pointing out what I see as a problem.  I am trying to get people thinking about it and consider ways to solve it.  I am not saying I'm right - but until someone can come up with a better solution or help to modify the one I propose, then I'll continue advocating it.

And this to all of you is "whining" or complaining or arrogance.  I don't get people like all of you, but you certainly don't anger me or even annoy me.  You all just seem like teenagers to me.  Attack the person, not the ideas.

When are we all going to stop that?  Who I am or am not is of NO importance to this discussion thread.  You all get some thrill out of it, and you think your clever but you really just look dumb...unable to think for yourselves or add to the topic. 

You don't make me angry, you illustrate the problems our country faces.  I only hope the people who read these posts see how it happens.  We *all* have to stand up to people like this and tell them to shut up if they have nothing to add.

Why don't you guys get that?  Why do you get more satisfaction out of attacking me instead of discussing (or attacking) my ideas? 

You guys all think you have me figured out; that you know my personality, my gender, where I am from, the grades I made, the school I go to...and then you slap yourselves on the back like the rednecks in "Deliverance" everytime you rip into me based on these idiotic assumptions.   

But you know nothing except what you've made up in your head.  And I can tell you, you're far far off.  Jeez, I have a profile on my blog - attack some stuff on there at least!  Stop looking like ignorant lazy dopes.  Is this how you plan to practice law?  "I bet opposing counsel is this kind of person; let's plan our strategy on that assumption." You won't be successful, I can assure you that.



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Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2006, 08:09:48 PM »
some people have too much time on their hands.

Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2006, 09:13:27 PM »
Yeah, I totally agree Lipper.  Like those who continue to read, write and respond to threads they don't agree with or that bother them.  *Way* too much time on their hands.  Like, dude, I don't read threads that don't interest me, and if I leave a criticism it's directed at the post, not the postor.

Lipper - maybe you should use your time more effectively like I do - start your own thread and check back on it.  Get e-mail alerts when people post.  Educate yourself and that way it doesn't take long to formulate responses.  I type 85wpm - these posts take all of 10 minutes to write and edit. 

As it is now, you troll the boards and write nothing memorable, interesting, substantive, or that evidences an ability to critically reason.  Alternatively, spend some time reading my blog or reading:

The Washington Times
The Washington Post
The Economist
The National Review
The Times of London
The New York Times
The Independent
The Wall Street Journal

NPR's All Things Considered also helps

And educate yourself.  Maybe THEN you can actually add something to these discussions, instead of wasting YOUR time reading them and trying to get a rise out of people, eh? 


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Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2006, 09:41:16 PM »
some people have too much time on their hands.

Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2006, 10:11:09 PM »
Yeah right.  Waste of time.  It's only our careers and future job satisfaction we are talking about.  Open your eyes, folks.  You think the anxiety, needless pressure and dissatisfaction end at law school?  I case-managed billion dollar transactions at the largest law firms for the last six years.  Change begins at law school, and I encourage everyone to start to give it thought.  Nothing changes unless you raise your voice.  Sadly, few are willing to do so because of asinine attacks the likes of which you see on this board:

The Third-Year Dilemma:
Why Firms Lose Associates
January 4, 2006

This is the first installment of The FLaw, a new column about law-firm management, with a particular emphasis on the miscues, peculiarities and strange customs of law firms.

At their best, the country's largest law firms are magic-workers. They slip mergers past antitrust watchdogs, unlock revenue from dusty patent portfolios, yell "Duck!" as the Eliot Spitzers of the world are nearing mid-punch.

But when it comes to solving their own problems, big law firms aren't exactly Penn & Teller.

Take, for example, a problem currently roiling Big Law, one we might call the Dilemma of the Third Years.

According to a study unveiled last year by the NALP Foundation, a group that examines law firm hiring trends and practices, law firms have little trouble hanging onto their youngest lawyers -- only one percent and 14 percent of entry-level associates leave their law firms by the end of their first and second years of practice, respectively.

But a whopping 37 percent of associates at big law firms, defined by the study as those employing more than 500 lawyers, quit their firms by the end of their third years of practice.

Taken alone, the percentage might not seem so troubling. Like other professional services firms, law firms are, in the parlance of organizational management, "highly leveraged." That is, they need vastly more associate worker bees -- the 20 and 30-somethings who handle the mountains work generated by a big lawsuit or merger -- than they do queen-bee partners, who on any given matter, mostly map strategy and draw up long to-do lists for others to carry out. In other words, associate attrition isn't a problem, it's a necessity.

But another statistic casts the 37 percent figure in a different light. According to a study released in 2003 by Altman Weil, Inc., a Newtown Square, Pa.-based large consultant to law firms, the average big law firm doesn't start recouping its cash flow investment in an associate until about midway through an associate's fourth year, around the time most start acquiring the skill and confidence to run their own cases and deals.

The costs associated with premature attrition don't end there. When too many associates bolt a given firm during that third year, firms have to replace them with lateral hires, which, according to the NALP Foundation study, runs about $300,000 per associate. Says Dr. Larry Richard of Hildebrandt International, Inc., a Somerset, N.J.-based consultant to large firms: "There's no slush fund for those expenses. You're really just sucking money out of the partners' pockets."

For managing partners everywhere, then, the goal is well-defined: Figure out how to keep more lawyers around until at least about midway through their fifth years, ensuring at least one profit-making year of work from each associate. Firms that can do this will also escape the hefty costs of hiring replacement laterals.

Can law firms change the status quo? Maybe. But first they'll have to unravel an increasingly entrenched idea among associates that they've got to figure out the rest of their careers by the end of their third years of practice.

Manfred Gabriel, a fifth-year associate at Latham & Watkins LLP in New York, says firms start to demand more of associates in their third years. "At that point, the perception seems to be that it's time to ask yourself whether you want to commit yourself to the firm -- maybe make a run at partnership," he says. "If not, it's a good time to leave. You've learned how to do some things, but you're not viewed as someone past [his or her] prime." He left his first firm, LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP, as a third-year associate.

Professional recruiters play a big role in the third-year exodus, mostly by fostering a sense that associates have a limited window of marketability." The headhunters started calling early in my third year," recalls Jennifer Boatwright, who left a Milwaukee-based firm for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Dallas in September at the end of her third year of practice. Ms. Boatwright says she and her husband had long considered moving to a warmer climate, but the headhunters dictated the timing of the switch. "They told me that if I hadn't moved by the end of my fourth year, it would be nearly impossible to move" at all, she recalls. "I have no idea if that's true, but it certainly got me moving."

But it's the law firms themselves, not aggressive headhunters nor commitmentphobic associates, that deserve the lion's share of the blame for creating the Dilemma of the Third Years. According to David Maister, an author of several books on management at professional services firms, law firm partnership used to be something young lawyers aspired to. Not anymore. "Partners hate their lives," says Mr. Maister. "They're overworked and stressed out and slaves to the billable hour. Lots of associates see this first hand and can't run away from it fast enough."

Take the experience of Julia Hesse. Last year, Ms. Hesse left Boston's Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP for Ropes & Gray LLP at the end of her third year of practice even though the move cut her chances for partnership. At Ropes & Gray, a firm of 700 lawyers, seven associates made partner last year. "I don't want to be a partner," says Ms. Hesse, "and I don't know a single associate [at Ropes] who wants to make partner." Ms. Hesse says that Ropes's deep health-care practice, which promised good experience and introductions to a healthy roster of outside contacts, enticed her to Ropes. Bradford Malt, Ropes's chairman, agrees that partnership is tough to make at the firm, but boasts that "the experience and training a young attorney gets at Ropes is among the best in the country."

Given the problems associated with partnership, might law firms attack the Third Year Dilemma by reforming at the top?

A trickle are starting to. Pittsburgh-based Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham LLP, for example, launched a "balanced hours" program in November to try to, in the words of Peter Kalis, the firm's chairman, "stop the bleeding" away of young lawyers.

Mr. Kalis stresses that the program -- which allows any lawyer to meet anonymously with an organizational sociologist and devise flexible working schedules (subject to the firm's approval, of course) -- is meant for both associates and partners. "Very few partners of AmLaw 100 firms are financially deprived," he says, "but a lot of them are still unhappy."

Happy partners, in Mr. Kalis's view, will solve the Third Year Dilemma and ultimately make for a more profitable firm. "When the people above you are happy, it has a tendency to rub off," he says. "And when associates are happy, not only are they more productive, but in my experience, they stay at your firm."


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Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2006, 07:03:22 AM »
Personally I am not to concerned about the profits of mega-firms. Something tells me they are doing just fine and if they are not I bet ya they can figure it out. They are after all "some of the smartest people in the country".

Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« Reply #27 on: January 24, 2006, 08:13:40 AM »
I kinda agree with you on this.

I think it's because a lot of them like to have a martyr complex about the whole thing, they think it makes them tougher or something.

Interestingly enough, last semester I had the exact same kind of verbal altercation with a proctor.  I was way more keyed up than you though (since it was 8 am, I'd been at school since 3 am, and had only had 4 red bulls and 1 7-11 hot dog since then) and I ended up dropping some f-bombs.  She really got under my skin.

Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« Reply #28 on: January 24, 2006, 07:50:22 PM »
That's great not to be concerned about the big firms giffy, but many people work at them because we have to take out loans that could buy homes, and the big firms are the only places to go to pay them back.

Your view is myopic.

Re: Why do law students act like they deserve disrespect?
« Reply #29 on: January 24, 2006, 09:51:45 PM »

I think it's because a lot of them like to have a martyr complex about the whole thing, they think it makes them tougher or something.

I think that is EXACTLY what is behind their support for the current system.  They obviously don't know too many practicing associates because many, if not most, are miserable and wish they never went to law school. 

I worked for two years at Fulbright in Texas and four years at Clifford Chance in NYC.  I know these people.  They are my friends.  I case-managed their transactions.  They know I write what I write.  And they all universally agree with what I say.  I know I won't convince everyone.  But it matters not that some swashbuckling law students who have no idea what they are in for don't see it.

You toughies - there's more to life than law.  There's families, there's community (and NOT just giving at the office); there's hobbies; there's problems we need to fix in this country (the require the whole of the citizenry to focus on them).  These things are NOT things most people can do without and be happy.  The legal profession has proven that true. 

It gives me no satisfaction that the toughies who post on these boards will often succumb to the same misery as the rest of the profession.  It's sad. See for yourselves:

Those unhappy, unhealthy lawyers
Notre Dame Magazine     

   Lawyers may or may not be among the most unethical professionals in America. But there is little doubt that they are among the most unhealthy and unhappy.

Lawyers suffer from depression, anxiety, hostility, paranoia, social alienation and isolation, obsessive-compulsiveness, and interpersonal sensitivity at alarming rates. For example, researchers affiliated with Johns Hopkins University found statistically significant elevations of major depressive disorder (AMDD@) in only three of 104 occupations: lawyers, pre-kindergarten and special education teachers, and secretaries. Lawyers topped the list, suffering from MDD at a rate 3.6 times higher than nonlawyers who shared their key socio-demographic traits.

Lawyers also suffer from alcoholism and use illegal drugs at rates far higher than nonlawyers. One group of researchers found that the rate of alcoholism among lawyers is double the rate of alcoholism among adults generally, while another group of researchers estimated that 26 percent of lawyers had used cocaine at least once C twice the rate of the general population. One out of three lawyers suffers from clinical depression, alcoholism or drug abuse. Not surprisingly, a preliminary study indicates that lawyers commit suicide and think about committing suicide more often than nonlawyers.

The divorce rate among lawyers appears to be higher than the divorce rate among other professionals. Felicia Baker LeClere of Notre Dame=s Center for the Study of Contemporary Society compared the incidence of divorce among lawyers to the incidence of divorce among doctors, using data from the 1990 census. LeClere found that the percentage of lawyers who are divorced is higher than the percentage of doctors who are divorced and that the difference is particularly pronounced among women.

People who are this unhealthy C people who suffer from depression, anxiety, alcoholism, drug abuse, divorce, and suicide to this extent C are almost by definition unhappy. It should not be surprising, then, that lawyers are indeed unhappy, nor should it be surprising that the source of their unhappiness seems to be the one thing that they have in common: their work as lawyers. In large numbers, lawyers say that they are unhappy with their careers, that they would not become lawyers again if they had the choice, that they would not advise their children or others to become lawyers, and that they hope to leave the practice of law before the end of their careers. Even as the market for legal services has improved in the last few years, the morale of lawyers has declined to new lows, especially for lawyers in private practice.

Why are lawyers so unhealthy and unhappy? Why do so many lawyers, in the words of Judge Laurence Silberman, Ahate what the practice of law has become?@ Lawyers give many reasons. They complain about the commercialization of the legal profession C about the fact that practicing law has become less of a profession and more of a business. They complain about the increased pressure to attract and retain clients in a ferociously competitive marketplace. They complain about having to work in an adversarial environment. They complain about not having control over their lives and about being at the mercy of judges and clients. They complain about a lack of civility among lawyers. They complain about a lack of collegiality and loyalty among their partners. And they complain about their poor public image. Mostly, though, they complain about the hours.

In every study of the career satisfaction of lawyers of which I am aware, in every book or article about the woes of the legal profession that I have read, and in every conversation about life as a practicing lawyer that I have heard, lawyers complain about the long hours they have to work. In the words of the American Bar Association, lawyers are complaining with increasing vehemence about Aliving to work, rather than working to live@ C about being Aasked not to dedicate, but to sacrifice their lives to the firm.@ Lawyers often suffer from a nostalgic longing for a past that never really existed. But when it comes to their brutal work schedules, lawyers have reason to complain, and they have reason to believe that the problem has grown worse. Thirty years ago, most partners billed between 1,200 and 1,400 hours per year and most associates between 1,400 and 1,600 hours. Today, over half of the associates and almost a quarter of the partners in private practice bill at least 2,000 hours per year. In the biggest and most prestigious law firms, almost everyone bills close to 2,000 hours, and many bill 2,500 hours or more.

Researchers have found that what makes people happy is the nature (not the amount) of the work they do and the quality of their lives outside of work. Long hours at the office have no relationship to the former and take away from the latter. Every hour that lawyers spend at their desks is an hour that they do not spend doing many of the things that give their lives joy and meaning: being with their spouses, playing with their children, relaxing with their friends, visiting their parents, going to movies, reading books, volunteering at the homeless shelter, playing softball, collecting stamps, traveling the world, getting involved in a political campaign, going to church, working out at a health club. There=s no mystery about why lawyers are so unhappy: They work too much.