The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘The Chance to Make a Difference’ or the Chance to Make $165,000 a Year?

Posted on | September 1, 2011 | 12 Comments

Why do kids go to law school?

Harold Krent, dean and professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law, said large law firms hire 50 percent fewer graduates than four years ago. That makes a huge difference for students who hope to a get a “$165,000 payday,” he said.
But, Krent said . . . many students go to law school not for that $165,000 payday, but for the chance to make a difference. . . .
“Many people do wonderfully creative and interesting things with a law degree other than practice law, including being a journalist or being an investor or being a counselor.”

Don’t worry if you’re at a loss for words. LawProf has sarcasm to spare:

What would be a good analogy to spending, at this particular moment in economic history, $55,000 a year to go to a second-tier law school to prepare for a career in, of all things, journalism? Getting a PhD in Marxist-Leninist political theory in order to become a travel agent? Acquiring a doctorate in phrenology on the road to becoming a blacksmith? The mind reels . . .

My son-in-law just started law school and specifically plans to become a criminal defense attorney, which isn’t an especially lucrative legal specialty, unless you’re working for the Democratic National Committee or some other organized crime racket.

But the point is, he plans to become a practicing attorney, a career goal he has had in mind since he was a boy, as opposed to the apparent motive of some kids who go to law school because . . . Well, because they finished college and didn’t want to go to work.

You don’t need a law degree to “make a difference.” Hitler didn’t go to law school and look what a difference he made!


12 Responses to “‘The Chance to Make a Difference’ or the Chance to Make $165,000 a Year?”

  1. Doug
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 12:32 am

    You went Goodwin early.

  2. McGehee
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 1:29 am

    It is in fact possible to learn enough of the fundamentals of legal thinking to put them to use in any field, without going to law school. The only thing you need law school for is to avoid legal sanction for practicing law without a license. The guild must protect its prerogatives!

    Fortunately though, they have not yet succeeded entirely in cloaking their knowledge behind chants and incense.



    Did I mention “yet”?

  3. Add1dda
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 2:26 am

    This must have been posted by Smitty. Stacy may be an old fart, for all I know, but I’ve seen pictures of his bride, and she’s not old enough to be a mother-in-law.

    Although, considering that I recently celebrated my annual 21st birthday, Stacy is ancient, compared to me.

    Nicholas Stix

  4. AngelaTC
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 2:50 am

    Wisconsin will let you sit for the bar, no law school required.

  5. Julie
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 2:55 am

    Well, you know… when someone asks a question like that there is the right answer and then there is the true answer. 

    It takes a lot of bravery to admit you’re in school because you’ve been in school your whole life and don’t know what else to do or else find Real Life rather frightening.

    But even that is trivially easy compared to admitting in public that you want to make as much money as possible in a way that doesn’t involve blood or needles.

  6. Anonymous
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 2:58 am

    That’s why being your own attorney is such a bad idea. You are in effect telling the judge he was a sucker for wasting three years in law school while you can do just as good a job without it.

  7. Bob Belvedere
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 3:34 am

    ‘Yeah…well, your honor…the truth hurts’.

  8. Anonymous
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 4:13 am

    All things considered that’s not that surprising what is surprising is how much sense that makes. I assume that one still has to pass the test.

  9. DaveO
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 1:21 pm


  10. DaveO
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

    Human Resources looks at credentials. A person who barely passed his/her classes and got an MBA is better at running a Fortune 500 company than an entrepreneur who barely made it out of high school with dyslexia.

    Lawyers are expected to be critical thinkers (stop laughing, I’m serious), excellent writers, and crusaders for a cause. However, most successful lawyers take drama/theater lessons. Juries don’t go for rational, logic constructs. They want drama – they want entertainment. They want a future politico in front of them acting out the agony of a baby damaged by nicotine tar.

    Odd thing being, judges are the same way as juries. “The Law” is an afterthought these days.

  11. richard mcenroe
    September 2nd, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    ” Acquiring a doctorate in phrenology on the road to becoming a blacksmith? ”

    Well, hey, you’ve got the hammer right there…

  12. Denverwindowwashing
    September 3rd, 2011 @ 3:22 am

    As much as I’d like to laugh, that would only highlight ignorance.

    The Democrat Party depends on lawyers to make law.  That is logical:  God has no power compared to Law in America today.

    Jimmy Carter, God bless his heart, was unique in that he was a Democrat POTUS or POTUS candidate who didn’t attend law school.

    Almost all since good old Jimmy (because, for all his faults, at least J. Carter was no lawyer) have been lawyers.  Victor David Hansen wrote about this, after I emailed an old shoulda been blog post about it-perhaps that’s why I remember it-and the link between Law and Democrat is concatenation.