Law School Discussion

Total Law School Noob Question.. About Thomas Cooley etc..

nealric

  • ****
  • 2248
  • a.k.a. Miguel Sanchez
    • View Profile
Re: Total Law School Noob Question.. About Thomas Cooley etc..
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2009, 08:42:44 AM »
Quote
I have to disagree with you. No you shouldn't be able to play in the NFL but everyone has the chance to train and work toward it. Will everyone make it? No. But they do have the choice to try.

How is that different from law school? I have the same opportunity as the next guy to show up to an open tryout. The law school applicant has the same opportunity as the next guy to take the LSAT. Just as the tryout might not necessarily catch those with the most talent, so too might the LSAT miss talented people.

I concede that the NFL analogy is not perfect. It is quite true that my height is immutable while my LSAT is not- but that is not the essential point. The essential point is that we can only have so many lawyers in society just as the NFL only needs so many linebackers. More people want to be lawyers than we actually need. The limited need necessitates that we cull even some deserving people.

Quote

Education is one of the greatest institutions we have in America.  With education comes power, money, and in many ways greater degrees of life satisfaction.  There are studies to show that with increasing levels of education come all these things.  To say that someone is not entitled to ATTEMPT to pursue it, not because they don't have the fire in their belly, but because their numbers aren't good...well, that just doesn't sit right with me.

I would distinguish education in a general sense from education that is the barrier into a regulated profession. I agree wholeheartedly that anybody should have the opportunity for higher education. There are plenty of institutions with open enrollment policies that provide that service.

Quote
Why not?  What makes someone "entitled to try" law school?  I agree with you that not everybody should BE a lawyer, but going to law school to see whether your interest in law translates to being good at it?  That opportunity should be available to anyone who has the drive to try it.

I don't think anybody is entitled to be a lawyer. Some applicants have simply been selected by the system to be given the opportunity.

I want to emphasize that I'm not trying to make this some sort of elitist point. My line of argument often appears to be "only people smart as me should be given a chance". I'm not saying that at all. I fully concede that there are plenty of smart, talented people (many who are no doubt smarter than I am) who have trouble getting into law school. 


Re: Total Law School Noob Question.. About Thomas Cooley etc..
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2009, 09:13:57 AM »
What I am in favor of is that people at least go into KNOWING that there is a strong chance that they may never graduate, that there is a strong chance they want pass the bar, and a strong chance they won't make enough money to pay back loans. It's one thing to go into it with your eyes wide open; it's another thing to be mislead by the school about your chances for success or blinded by your own ignorance of the numbers.

Re: Total Law School Noob Question.. About Thomas Cooley etc..
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2009, 09:19:58 AM »
If you've ever gone to the admitted students weekend of any school, you know it's full of misleading crap.  Even if it's just "We're all so happy here at Chicago!"  The schools don't put the numbers front-and-center, and I've found that a lot of students on this board don't know that they even exist, much less where to find them.

UFBoldAsLove

  • ****
  • 1519
  • Go Gators.
    • View Profile
Re: Total Law School Noob Question.. About Thomas Cooley etc..
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2009, 09:22:59 AM »
This is actual data for you.

http://officialguide.lsac.org/SearchResults/SchoolPage.aspx?sid=151

Click on ABA LAW SCHOOL DATA.

Attrition: 1st year 292 (ACADEMIC) 241 (OTHER) 533 (TOTAL) 26.1 (% OF CLASS)
           2ndyear   82 (ACADEMIC) 53  (OTHER) 135 (TOTAL) 15.2 (% OF CLASS)
           3rd year  31 (ACADEMIC)  0  (OTHER) 31  (TOTAL) 5.4   (% OF CLASS)

Can you imagine paying for TWO years of law school, spending TWO years of your life not making any money, only to get kicked out from a crappy law school trying to increase their bar passage rates and employment numbers? Can you imagine that happening after paying for THREE?

Those numbers aren't not just bad. They are REALLY bad.  It means that, in a lot of ways, you are just taking a gamble with your money.

What qualifies as "OTHER" in these stats?

Re: Total Law School Noob Question.. About Thomas Cooley etc..
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2009, 10:40:36 AM »
I would imagine that "OTHER" is a combination of people who are borderline academic issues (sucked it up and know they don't have a great shot at a job, or are likely to be booted the next year), financial problems, personal problems, honor code violations, medical reasons. 

Re: Total Law School Noob Question.. About Thomas Cooley etc..
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2009, 10:42:26 AM »
I concede that the NFL analogy is not perfect. It is quite true that my height is immutable while my LSAT is not- but that is not the essential point. The essential point is that we can only have so many lawyers in society just as the NFL only needs so many linebackers. More people want to be lawyers than we actually need. The limited need necessitates that we cull even some deserving people.

Whether there is a limited need or not (even in these trying economic times, that is certainly arguable) whose position is it to "cull even some deserving people"?  Why not let the market take care of those things?  If someone goes to a "bad" law school and fails out, if someone goes to a "bad" law school and graduates but is not a very good attorney - the market has taken care of that problem.  There is no demand for that person's services, and you and your cushy job are quite safe after all, Neal.

However, if someone goes to a "bad" law school and excels, and then turns out to be a very good practicing attorney - why is that person less worthy of their position than someone who took easy classes in college, got a good GPA, and totally slacked through a t1 law school without really learning anything or caring much about the profession?

Nobody is saying that everyone going to law school becomes and stays an attorney, whether for academic or market-dictated reasons.  What I am saying is that everyone who has a strong enough desire should at least be able to try.

I completely agree with Nose, though, that people who chose to go to lower-ranked schools like Cooley should at least be 100% clear on the academic, professional, and financial risk they are taking by doing so.  But if, in their calculus, it is still worth it to go for the dream of becoming an attorney, it does strike me as exceptionally elitist - regardless of your insistence that it is not - to say they shouldn't be allowed to.

Re: Total Law School Noob Question.. About Thomas Cooley etc..
« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2009, 10:50:14 AM »
Well, it could be that information asymmetry skews the effects of the market....

Second, we've already decided that the legal profession isn't a free market. We regulate advertisements for lawyers, we regulate the requirements to be a lawyer, we regulate what lawyers can do, we regulate law schools, we regulate where lawyers can practice. It's just really more of a question of whether we should raise the standards or not. As a society, we think it's important to interfere in the profession to protect people who are not skilled to evaluate their attorneys (like doctors). There's a good debate as to whether someone is better served by having a crappy lawyer they can afford, no lawyer, or a good lawyer they cannot afford but we do set the baselines.  But there should at least be some baseline required, and I think Neal would argue that we should seek to be underinclusive rather than overinclusive.

 

nealric

  • ****
  • 2248
  • a.k.a. Miguel Sanchez
    • View Profile
Re: Total Law School Noob Question.. About Thomas Cooley etc..
« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2009, 11:16:57 AM »
Quote
Whether there is a limited need or not (even in these trying economic times, that is certainly arguable) whose position is it to "cull even some deserving people"?  Why not let the market take care of those things?  If someone goes to a "bad" law school and fails out, if someone goes to a "bad" law school and graduates but is not a very good attorney - the market has taken care of that problem.  There is no demand for that person's services, and you and your cushy job are quite safe after all, Neal.

Stole your nose beat me to it a bit.

Adjusting the numbers entering the profession will change the very nature of the market. Letting more people graduate into the dregs of the profession results an expansion of the less savory aspects. Hence, you get Aggressive ambulance chasing, Slimy TV/Billboard advertising, Frivolous lawsuits filed by solos desperate for work, etc. This results in diminished respect for the practice of law and a dilution in the average quality of legal services.

Obviously, there needs to be a balance. If we decreed that only people with 170 LSATs could attend law school, there would be a huge shortage of lawyers that could be even more detrimental than a surplus. I also don't think that the current system is necessarily the best way of culling people- but there needs to be some mechanism. I suppose we COULD just make law schools open admission but fail out 50% of the class. Personally, I wouldn't be too excited about such a system.

In any event, the fact of the matter is that we don't give everyone the opportunity to attend law school. Some people don't have the numbers. There are barriers to entry (albeit far lower than the medical profession).

Quote
Nobody is saying that everyone going to law school becomes and stays an attorney, whether for academic or market-dictated reasons.  What I am saying is that everyone who has a strong enough desire should at least be able to try.

Everyone does have the opportunity to try. Everyone has a chance to go to college and excel. Everyone has a chance to do well on the LSAT. In fact, you could keep taking the LSAT at every possible opportunity for the next 20 yrs if you wanted to. We just don't give everyone the chance to get into a law school classroom- you have to get over the initial barriers to entry.

Re: Total Law School Noob Question.. About Thomas Cooley etc..
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2009, 12:21:39 PM »
I live in metro-Detroit.  Thomas Cooley is a part of Oakland University.  The University in general has a good reputation within Michigan, but Cooley not so much.  U of Detroit Mercy or Wayne State Unverstiy (both in Detroit) are better.  If you really want to go to law school, do what you need to do.  But don't go if you aren't sure.  College loans are serious stuff.