Law School Discussion

Crisis of Faith: Why even pursue this path?

Crisis of Faith: Why even pursue this path?
« on: October 08, 2009, 10:31:37 PM »
Caution Bacardi sponsored rant ahead :-\:

So here I am, a third year in a tier 4 school in the south in my home state, and hometown.  Looking back I cannot possibly think of what idiotic reasoning I had to justify going to law school in the first place.  Grades suck, I earned B's without trying my first half of my grand law school adventure, and when I became disillusioned (aka enlightened), I slacked and got C's, so I'll graduate roughly half and half on those grades.  So here I am 120k in debt, no job prospects, no networks established and above all I've known I haven't wanted to practice law for many months now.  Why continue?  Why not, after a crap ton of tuition spent, at least I can get the coveted letters of J and D (for the budding alcoholics, this doesn't mean Jack Daniels).  I'm chasing good money after bad, but at this point I don't have much of a choice.

So here I am.  Law school has taught me many things (puts on flame suit).  One is that I passionately hate the personalities of most lawyers/would be lawyers.  That fake snake oil salesman style just irks me to no end.  In fact I managed to find every one of my classmates who feel the same way, and we've formed something of an underground against this majority; the deans office hates us.  The other, is that, generally speaking, 'the practice of law' is a joke.  It is either totally politically whether it be a USSC ruling which twists verbage to such a degree an Olympic gymnast would be proud or in the case of Admin Law, a new presidential administration comes in and just overturns all previous precedent (oh we really meant this...).  Don't get me started on labor law....  Political ideology is fine, just have the balls to NOT masquerade as legal logic.

It is all BS.  I'm a believer in right and wrong, black and white.  I fundamentally believe the billable hour is evil and puts all lawyers in a position of having a conflict of interest (billing vs. their fiduciary duties to minimize their clients bills).

I just am stressed out and fed up.  Stressed about what you ask?  Good question; other than no job, I don't have much to stress about.  Well I need to start on my writing requirement, but no big deal really... School is a joke difficulty wise, and moot court/law review is entirely based off the clique system (good ole boy network) of who gets on.  For some, it must sure be easy to be top dog in school when daddy is a congressman, but I'll admit that is shallow of me...and I'm off on a incoherent tangent.

So what do I *want* to do?  I *want* to *not* be a lawyer.  I just can't stand it any longer.  Making arguments you philosophically disagree with, sleazing yourself like a cheerleader on prom night at social functions and in general putting up with left over frat boys and sorority girls who have now made it as hiring associates at the few firms around is not for me.

My options are basically this:
1. Get back in better shape and:
1.a. go to the police academy (not real big on this given my lack of faith in system already)
1. b. go back into the Air Force (I'm to old for that *&^%, plus my honorable discharge was for medical reasons = issues)

2. Open my own solo practice - doomed to failure based off my outlook IMHO

3. Open a bar and grill, just need some financing

Surely someone can commiserate, or are we all tier 1/2 gunners here....if so, never mind, something about not opening my mouth if I have nothing blank to say...


Talk Is Cheap

  • ****
  • 314
  • F*** the man, I'm the man.
    • View Profile
Re: Crisis of Faith: Why even pursue this path?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2009, 10:54:44 PM »
Rant noted and accepted, sir.

I can't say that I don't sympathize with you, for the reasons you noted. Making it in this profession, as I'm sure it is many others, is about making your personal peace with the unseemly aspects of it. Once you recognize that it's all a bunch of systematic gaming with a fine veneer of "legal science" to it, you can hop right in...if your conscience will allow it.

I was much more mercenary in my outlook going into law school than I am now, it's strange. I've become more of a black and white, right and wrong kind of guy. Not quite sure why that is...reactionary response to the perpetual fence-straddling in law school?

Anyhow, life is too short to do something you absolutely loathe. You presumably made it through three years of law school, there might be some area of the law that you can practice in without feeling sick to your stomach. If all else fails, just skip the country.

Re: Crisis of Faith: Why even pursue this path?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2009, 07:35:27 AM »
Don't sweat it too much, it likley wasn't a total waste of time - it doesn't sound like you would have been successful at anything else you would have done instead.

Re: Crisis of Faith: Why even pursue this path?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2009, 07:42:57 AM »
Something you may consider is getting permission to take a 1 year leave of absence from school for "personal reasons". You can defer your loans for the year, get a job to feed yourself and figure out what you want to do. After that, you could go back and finish the JD if you want. Since you are already in the middle of the semester, you'd be wise to see what the financial consequences are before doing anything.

Re: Crisis of Faith: Why even pursue this path?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2009, 01:27:55 PM »
I'm with big-fat-box on this one . . . if you want to leave school, call it a "leave of absence" simply to keep your options open. 

Other than that, do whatever you want. 


Re: Crisis of Faith: Why even pursue this path?
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2009, 08:54:10 AM »
What are the future plans of your fellow colleagues who agree with your philosophy (i.e., that lawyers and law mostly suck)? Ask around and see how they're handling their discomfiture with the legal profession.

"Good ol' boy" networks are significantly less relevant in smaller firms. Personality and intellect are more of the currency there. So, if you can surmount the hurdle of being jobless at present, you at least have some hope that you'll like more of your work colleagues than you do your school colleagues. Certainly, that was the case for me.

Your current hate-on for law needs to be counteracted -- not just for its psychological effects on your motivation, but because you aren't going to be able to present a good interview facade if you don't have something to rally behind. Have you tried clinics and other kinds of volunteering? They're less political and there's more of a human face to your clients. Also, no billing and billing descriptions.

Spend more time away from lawyers. That's usually the antidote from law poisoning. I've found that the more time I spend away from lawyers, the more I like law. It has its good points; it's just hard to see the forest for the trees. Moreover, time away from lawyers means time building support networks and business connections. Both of which can be of aid to you, emotionally and if you decide to seek an alternative JD career. (There's a thread on the forum with some alternative JD career options. I don't have the link handy, but it's on the first page.)

Be careful about deferring your loans, as you may lose certain rights if you have a cosigner. (Some private loans require that there be a certain number of on-time payments immediately at the beginning of your repayment cycle; deferring means you miss the opportunity to make those payments and remove a co-signer from your loan.)

Joey Porsche

  • ***
  • 26
  • Ya feels me?
    • View Profile
Re: Crisis of Faith: Why even pursue this path?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2009, 10:17:06 PM »
Don't sweat it too much, it likley wasn't a total waste of time - it doesn't sound like you would have been successful at anything else you would have done instead.



Re: Crisis of Faith: Why even pursue this path?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2009, 12:39:53 PM »
Well that was an entertaining rant OP, so thanks for that.  I totally relate to the snake oil salesman bit.  Some people just can't tolerate what they view as towing the company line, kissing ass or swallowing BS, which is, unfortunately, at least a small part of many many corporate type professional jobs.  And any job is going to have aspects you like less than others. 

There are MANY types of attorneys, I bet you could carve out a satisfying legal career if you wanted to.  You sound so disillusioned with it at this point though, you really might be one of those people (like the protagonist in Office Space) that just has zero tolerance for a corporate atmosphere and is better off going scorched earth and trying to open a bar/grill if you really want to and think you can do it. 

Just remember that there's no escaping assholes.  They're everywhere.

Re: Crisis of Faith: Why even pursue this path?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2010, 10:35:42 PM »
Hahaha I'm totally on the same page as you Jobless Debtor.  Very apt name as well. 

My roommate and I were paired up randomly, but we lucked out and each of us shared a similar view of law school.  We hate it to the bone. Fortunately, this means we get to vent to each other every time something gets on our nerves.  We haven't found a clique of like minded haters at our school like you have, but that's because neither of us know anybody there because we've consciously avoided all contact with the other students.  Our school is full of over achiever assholes who brag about how much time they spent on homework over the weekend.  While I'm sure there are some pretty cool people at our school I don't want to have to wade through the sea of jerk offs to get to know them.  I spend as little time at the school as I can, and when I'm not there I like to pretend I never went to law school.  I've merely been unemployed for the last three years so far as I know.

I agree with your understanding of the law too.  Judicial decisions are nothing more than personal emotional responses dressed up in the garb of "legal reasoning and logic."  Judges are nothing more than mini-autocrats who make rulings based on how they feel.  What a load of crap! 

While law school SUCKS and the job market sucks even worse, I still think being a lawyer will probably be one of the best career paths you can take. So long as you make it into a smaller to mid sized firm.  It'll be a job that allows for personal responsibility and achievement along with a lot of freedom.  While there are numerous scum bag attorneys out there, there are also just as many good ones.  You'll just have to get lucky enough to work in a firm with good people.  My dream job would be working for a small or medium sized labor law firm so I can hang out with all the other communist lawyers out there.  Haha

I'll leave you with this nugget.  My roommate was an infantryman in the Marines who served in Iraq for two tours.  He participated in the initial invasion and took part in the second siege of Fallujah.  As you can imagine his life was not fun at this time.  And taking that into consideration he still thinks law school was the worst three years of his life.  Ha!

Re: Crisis of Faith: Why even pursue this path?
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2010, 08:38:12 AM »
Just FYI, law review write-on competitions are anonymous at some (probably most) schools.  I doubt the "clique system" has very much to do with it.